Book Review: The Brand Flip

Branding is closely related to product positioning, especially for technology companies that have one or a handful of products. The Brand Flip is a must-read book for product marketers.

“We want to be unique, but we want to be unique in groups. We want to stand out, but we want to stand out together. In the age of easy group-forming, the basic unit of measurement is not the segment but the tribe.”

The Brand Flip, Marty Neumeier, 2015, New Riders Press

The Brand Flip is inspiring and, at the same time, useful at a tactical, day to day level. Many business books stretch a good idea that deserves a few thousand words into hundreds of pages to fit publishing norms. Neumeier takes the opposite approach, “a book needs to contain the least number of words, not the most.” Al Ries, co-author of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, says, “Never has one author jammed so many good ideas into so few pages.” Brevity makes his books quicker and easier to read and more useable as reference material. 

Neumeier writes a compelling description of how the increasing power of customers changes branding and offers advice on how marketers should adapt. Inspiration is lovely, but this book is hands-on. It includes simple frameworks, several of which can be applied usefully to product marketing. In particular, the IAM POV framework that connects customers’ identity, aims, and mores with a company’s purpose, “onlyness” and values. It puts a classic positioning statement – “Our brand is the only blank that blanks” in the center of a model that aligns customer aspirations with company purpose. His touchpoint menu, brand experience map, and branching diagram all have valuable applications in technology marketing. 

There are few books that I would place in a “must-read” category for product marketers, and this is one of them.

Who should read this book 

The Brand Flip is an essential work in modern branding. You need little imagination to see how Neumeier’s insights apply to anyone involved in product management, product marketing, any role in technology marketing or technology company leadership. 

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