Here is a collection of the books that I have reviewed. I don’t give a rating like stars or anything like that. I usually just discuss the topic of the book, and leave the rating up to you. Furthermore, I discuss what the book’s purpose is. So if your need matches its purpose, bazinga! You’ve got a book to read. If not, then scroll further down and you may find one that sways your fancy.
“Likeable Social Media” by Dave Kerpen
Like many business-esque books they have an elaborate subhead that describes the book, and this one is no different. “How to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand, and be generally amazing at Facebook (and other social networks).” That pretty mush sums up what the book is about, which allows me to discuss other things.
The book’s purpose is to educate its readers about social media. Today many people use social media, but how many use it properly? The main and obvious message about our times and one that Kerpen highlights is that the Internet is a two-way medium. There are many companies who understand this, and many who don’t. This book demonstrates how success for a company will be determined in the future. Branding isn’t going to necessarily going to be determined by whether a person engages with your company, but what they think about it.
Now what did I mean by that last comment? Take my relationship with Mozilla, more specifically Firefox. I like Mozilla’s brand and what they offer to the marketplace, however, I don’t use Firefox or any other Mozilla product for that matter. Therefore although I don’t use the brand I think highly of it. Is that a bad thing for Mozilla? No, not really. Mozilla benefits from me thinking highly of them. I will in turn talk about it in a positive way to friends, and I might even mention them in a positive way on a blog post. Although they don’t have me directly as a customer, they have me as an influence. That as I understand it is social media’s role. Being likeable is primary. Sales will follow crowds.
Check out Likeable Media at http://www.likeable.com They have a great blog about everything social media related. Also check out their Twitter @LikeableMedia
“Pick Me: Breaking Into Advertising and Staying There” by Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk
This book can be read straight through (I had to for a school assignment). However, when I originally bought it I only read the first three chapters because they were relevant to me at that time. I like to think long term, but I figured I should focus on getting an internship before I start to consider whether I want to move up to the CD role. That is both the upside and downside to the book. For some the entire book will have useful knowledge, and for others some chapters might be skipped. Pick Me acts more like a resource rather than a cover-to-cover read. Its true value is something that is referred back to at points in one’s career.
Pick Me acts like a giant ‘heads up’ for any young creative looking to break into the ad industry. Nancy and Janet take their successful column on ihaveanidea.org called “Ask Jancy” (Janet + Nancy), and turn it into a book that provides their reader with career insights and advice at all the major points along the way. They also recuit advice from several ad greats: Bob Barrie, David Droga, Neil French, Rick Boyko, Shane Hutton, Mike Hughes, Sally Hogshead, Mark Fenske, Tom Monahan, Chuck Porter, Bob Scarpelli, Brian Millar, Chris Staples and Lorraine Tao.
All in all it is a great book for young creatives and advertising students. The book is written in a Q&A format in some parts, and other parts the featured ad veterans give their two-cents on a variety of topics. If a young ad student or junior has a question that they may feel nervous about asking, this would be a good place to turn to first. Also “Ask Jancy” would be a good place too: http://ihaveanidea.org/askjancy/
“Baked In” by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor
In short this book is a product design book. Alex and John propose the thesis to their book with the subhead: creating products and businesses that market themselves. From an advertising perspective the brands that have their marketing baked in will win over those brands who have to fake their way through business. The authors give several examples of products and the resulting marketing.
The last chapter of Baked In is really worth reading. I won’t ruin it, but Alex and John give their prospective on what they believe will come in the future. This in turn leaves me excited about the future of my profession and how lucky I will be to be apart of the process.
A memoir by a personal ad hero of mine, Sir John Hegarty, the ‘H’ in BBH. So there might be bias here. “Hegarty On Advertising: Turning Intelligence Into Magic”.
Just like a typical memoir, Hegarty goes through his career and the lessons he learned along the way. The point of reading this book would be to learn those lessons. I’d say them here if I wasn’t worried about copyright infringement. So instead, and like always, I am going to talk about the purpose of this book.
Hegarty had the fortune of being apart of some great agencies, most notably Saatchi & Saatchi and of course BBH. He believes that great creatives have an entrepreneurial spirit about the brands they work on. Once upon a time back in the days of Rosser Reeves marketing a product would be based on its unique selling point. Now with so many brands in the marketplace it is hard to establish a brand. Sure there are unique and slight differences between one brand over another, but is that enough to set it apart? Not really. So in many ways it comes down to salesmanship. How one brand pitches itself against its competitors to its audience.
In the book Hegarty gives many other insights into what it takes for a creative to succeed in this business. It is important to note that he stays active in the goings-on at BBH. I won’t give his ideas away here because those are his. What I will say is that he is all about thinking of things differently. The same boring thing never sells, and creatives have to be, well, creative. Or another way of putting it: tear down the old ways of thinking and put up new ones, new branded ones
The Copy Book by D&AD.
The book cleverly titled The Copy Book published by D&AD is a great resource. It has an extensive list of copywriters who have their work profiled and talk about their writing processes. The book itself is large in size, and inspirational for any writer. By reading all about the writer’s process then viewing their work, it gives you an interesting insight into how they write.
As a young writer I’ve found that by reading and studying the approaches and processes of writers (copy or otherwise) I have a better understanding on how to deal with and approach new challenges. Seeing as how every new project is different; your process in many ways won’t be consistent throughout. Being able to adapt your writing as needed to each new project and each medium in my opinion is key for any writer.