Jarrett Johnston


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5 Books to Read Before Launching a Brand

You have the next big idea. Now what? If you don’t know this yet, having the idea is actually the easy part. It’s building the idea, branding it, and marketing it that’s the hard part. It’s time to start looking at that great idea though the lens of the consumer. What problem is the consumer trying to solve? What story are they telling themselves? Is your idea actually going to feed your family? Fortunately, there are a ton of helpful resources just a click or two away. These are just a few books that have shaped my process, and often where I point eager brands who want to learn faster than I can teach them what to do next. Understanding these fundamentals of a strong brand will be a step (or 20) in the right direction.

From New York Times best-selling author, Donald Miller, comes: Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen. The book is a favorite of many of my startup clients, and outlines seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach brands how to connect with customers and grow their businesses.


One of my personal favorite books from one of my favorite thought leaders. Seth Godin does it again with This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See. Godin offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one compact, accessible, timeless package. This is Marketing shows you how to do work you're proud of, whether you're a tech startup founder, a small business owner, or part of a large corporation.


An oldie but a goodie. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is perhaps one of the most influential marketing books around. It was the first book to deal with how to communicate to a skeptical, noise-blitzed public. It describes the need to create a "position" in a prospective customer's mind. One that uniquely differentiates a company by defining strengths and weaknesses clearly to customers rather than hiding them.


Brands today are expected to do more than just sell stuff. This book was one of the first to demonstrate how doing good is good for business. It explores how employment practices, social responsibility, and charitable giving all influence a consumers trust with a brand. It looks at beloved brands like Toms, Patagonia, CVS, Chipotle and more in an effort to demonstrate how to capture both markets and hearts.


Stepping outside of branding for a minute, from Pat Flynn comes Will It Fly?: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money. It’s for anyone who has a great idea, but needs some measurement of validation before jumping in. If I had to sum this book up in a word, it’s practical. It offers simple advice on how to test out an ideas profit potential.

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