The book: Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers, and Grow an Incredible Brand – a very helpful book for small- and mid-sized businesses.
The brain: Jeremy Miller, brand builder, keynote speaker, and the President of Sticky Branding, a Toronto-based branding and business development consultancy. Jeremy wrote this book after having gone through the challenging — and ultimately successful — process of rebranding his family’s own business, now LEAPJob.
The best bits: With such a clever tile, we have to start with what is a “Sticky Brand?” Jeremy writes:
“Sticky Brands have something captivating and special about them — they draw customers to them…Sticky Brands bring together purpose, vision, customer service, passion, operational excellence, and strategy to deliver remarkable customer experiences.”
Jeremy then lays out a playbook of 12 1/2 principles to grow a Sticky Brand. A few of my favorites are:
“Tilt the Odds. Sticky Brands tilt the odds in their favor because they are not all things to all people. They choose where to play and how they will win to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Tilt the Odds for your company by focusing on niche markets or services where it stands out as the first choice.”
“Total Customer Experience. Sticky Brands are built on a collection of experiences. It doesn’t matter what the company promotes, it’s what the customers experience that counts…Each place your customers engage with your brand is an opportunity to create a compelling experience.”
“Pick Your Priorities. To drive sales and grow a Sticky Brand, focus on one priority at a time: Volume, Velocity, or Value…Volume = Increase customer demand and generate sales ready leads; Velocity = Improve your sales closing rate by accelerating your customers’ buying process; Value = Reduce price sensitivity and increase the perceived value of your products and services…It’s very hard, if not impossible, to focus on all 3 Vs at once.”
The brand story: Sticky Branding is chockfull of stories and case studies about successful small and mid-market businesses, which is why it is such a good book. One of my favorite profiles is of Muldoon’s Coffee, a corporate coffee service. Jeremy describes Muldoon’s in the chapter about brand storylines and explains how CEO Shaun Muldoon competes with giant food services companies. Muldoon’s states its mission is “to give employees a reason to stay in the office for coffee…Our goal is to offer the taste and experience they expect [at Starbucks and other specialty coffee houses], but make it far more accessible.” But instead of bragging about how good its coffee tastes, Muldoon talks about the “corporate productivity drain” of employees going out for coffee. That certainly captures the attention of business owners and CFOs! Jeremy explains that Muldoon has “shifted a key feature — taste — into a Brand Storyline about corporate productivity…and engages its market in a conversation.”
The bottom line: Sticky Branding has everything small and medium businesses need to grow a recognizable, memorable brand: smart principles, illustrative examples, and practical exercises to engage right away.
Listen to my conversation with Jeremy to learn:
- why deliberately choosing where to play and how to win so important
- how creating compelling customer experience isn’t expensive — it’s a commitment
- what had the most impact on him as he researched and wrote the book
Other brand book bites:
- The Lean Brand by Brant Cooper and Jeremiah Gardner
- How to Ruin a Business Without Really Trying by MJ Gottleib
- Aaker on Branding by David Aaker