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By Aaron Keller, Renée Marino and Dan Wallace
192 pages, hardbound, $32.99
Published by HOW Books
howdesign.com/design-books

Branding isn’t rocket science, but its practitioners benefit from learning other sciences—especially those of the mind and the heart. The Physics of Brand applies a meatier focus than the “soft touch” of most branding books. After all, even Albert Einstein has a brand—as you’ll learn from marketing experts Aaron Keller, Renée Marino and Dan Wallace. In an age when many consumers have tuned out traditional advertising, these shrewd authors look for new answers in the realms of neuroscience and physics. (Don’t worry—the science is very basic and explained by cheerful and well-designed diagrams!)

Rather than drifting off into space with fluffy descriptions of branding, the authors probe for a complete definition of what branding means. Case studies of some of today’s successful companies, like KIND
Snacks and SmartWool, as well as historical examples, like Singer Corporation, ground the authors’ theories in reality so that other designers can apply the lessons. The authors also avoid the trap that many advertisers fall into: measuring views and clicks willy-nilly. Instead, the book builds an argument for tracking “moments” over minutes, tapping into consumers’ more lasting emotional memories—one might even say “seminal” memories (you’ll learn some smart-sounding terms to impress your clients). 

To help the reader digest abstract ideas, the book is written in an amusing, familiar tone, like a science lesson delivered by your funniest friend. Welcome tangents lead to such unexpected stories as Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson sharing a joint over a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Brands shouldn’t be boring—and learning about them shouldn’t be either. —Rebecca Huval

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