The Brand Gap and the giveaway


So, I love to read. Most of you know that already. I had planned on doing frequent book reviews but somehow got sidetracked along the way. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier is a great read. It’s relatively short, to the point and is only filled with the most important information (sweet!).

Some of Marty’s points that caught my attention:

  • 5 disciplines of branding- differentiate, collaborate, innovate, validate, cultivate.
  • The client decides the brand.
  • Brand extensions- new additions to the brand family serve to strengthen the meaning of the brand. [As long as it furthers the brand image and doesn’t take away, ie Porsche used to be a classic sports car company but what happened to the brand when they added that SUV?]
  • It takes a village to build a brand- Marketers, designers, ad agencies, consultants, photographers. [what, teamwork? Oh yes!]
  • Abandon the comforts of habit, reason, peer approval and go in a new direction.
  • Logos are dead, they identify rather than differentiate; create an icon instead, it contains the DNA of the brand.
  • A good brand icon is like a nicely taylored suit, it should only look good on you.

How do you know when an idea is innovative? When it scares the hell out of you!
I don’t recommend creating your brand on your own. It’s who you are, what you represent, for crying out loud get help, collaborate, work with a team. You’ll be glad you did.

Want a copy? I’m going to give mine away. It’s a really good book and everyone in business should read it. So here’s the deal-

Comment or send me an email-
Briefly and creatively tell me why you want/need it. (ie. your brand sucks, your poor, recently divorced etc.)
Prove it- link to your company, portfolio, blog etc
I’ll look everything over on Tuesday and on Wednesday I will announce the winner.


9 Responses to “The Brand Gap and the giveaway”

  1. Russell Kaye Says:

    Ed, More giveaways- cool. I’ll read it on the way to ASMP in Chicago via Chase Jarvis. Seriously, I can get it from the Rockport library but if you want to send it to someone….

  2. Luke Says:

    Hi Ed
    I am in exactly the position you describe in your ‘Who am I?’ section- I am nearing graduation and all my tutors have to say about the future is essentially “it’s virtually impossible to make a living from photography”.
    In an effort to combat this a small group of us started the co-operative Unseen recently. As a group of emerging photographers we crit each others work, share equipment and generally help each other out.
    Our website is now online and we have spent the past week discussing our ‘brand identity’- of course our University is no help in these matters but blogs like yours (and books like Neumeier’s) help enormously.


    Luke White

  3. jameslp Says:

    Hi Ed,
    I’m really enjoying your blog – I love the great advice and the overall wonderful, positive vibe you project in your writing.

    I am currently an amateur photographer considering turning semi-pro and hoping to one day become pro. I am just at the stage where I am trying to define my brand based on the advice from you and others. I have created an ‘ideas board’ and have the help of my sister-in-law who is a professional graphic designer.

    I’m very intrigued at the statement: “Logos are dead, they identify rather than differentiate; create an icon instead, it contains the DNA of the brand.” I haven’t read this before, but that is the angle I have subconsciously decided to go for. If you haven’t already decided on a worthy recipient of the book then I’d like to be considered as I would love to read more!

    Keep up the great work.

  4. Jameslp Says:

    Sorry, my doesn’t link to my blog:

  5. Alan Farkas Says:

    I have to agree with everything you say about branding. BUT if the work sucks, the best branding, marketing, blogging, cool flash web site, etc. won’t do you a bit of good. While a consistent brand, look, logo, icon, and all that jazz is important, the product/ service needs to be superior 1st. Combine a top notch product with top notch branding and you are ready to rock.

  6. Ed McCulloch Says:

    Alan- Couldn’t be more true. The product is king. Combine a good product and great branding and your golden.

  7. Hi Ed,

    First comment, but I have been reading your blog every day. Your blog is one of the ones on my list of blogs to read every day. I also love your work. You are one of my favorite photographers. I am not trying to kiss ass, I swear =P.

    I would love this book because, well, I am a poor college student and my branding sucks. I am currently at the stage of my business that I need to start a brand to use for my promotions. This book has been on my amazon for a while now and was planning on ordering it when I put my next semesters book order in, but the sooner the better!

    Keep up the great blog.


  8. Daphne Chan Says:

    I completely agree with you about the importance of branding. Having graduated last year, I understand the need to create a distinct identity but I’m not sure how to go about doing this. So many of my fellow students think that “branding” begins and ends with the font of their business card and website. I’d love to read the book and share it with everyone.


  9. Rusty Says:

    While I generally like The Brand Gap, I have a few issues with some of it’s findings.

    First, the idea of brand extensions is a bit antiquated. So often branding experts prematurely move forward to second-guess a company’s new launch as being “off-brand”. The Cayenne is a perfect example. This has been reviled since it’s start from branding purists (I was among the group), but it has increased Porsche’s growth with explosive success; and it seems to have done so while maintaining the idea that Porsche produces wicked vehicles. Sometimes a brand is most successful when it can act as a chameleon in new categories. Brand extensions are too often looked down upon, but that seems to be too much right brain trying to supplant the left. Brand purists would tell Apple to stick with computers . . . and then stick with music . . . and then there’s the iPhone.

    Second, one of the reason’s branding is looked down upon is our continued emphasis on vague ideas like “delight” and “love” when it comes to describing products. Though there is a place for that, we need to dig deeper. Though a bit academic, I recommend Doug Holt’s book, How Brands Become Icons. Cultural branding, understanding their place in identity, exchange, and expression—this is the area that branding needs to look to. We need to move away from fluff and get into insights. That is how a brand drives strategy and business.

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