Feed Your Brain & Build Your Brand

Five Books to Feed Your Brain & Build Your Brand  

Read any good books lately? That’s a question we often lob at job candidates to get a sense of their interests and personalities. 

It’s also a regular point of internal discussion as our JS Brand Strategy Team works to help clients establish a distinctive position among their respective audiences. Last year, we decided to form a Brand Strategy Book Club to stay disciplined with our scholarship, and it turned out to be fun as well as formative.  

If you’re a brand strategist or just a marketer or communicator looking to sharpen your message, try one or two of these though-provoking reads: 

Here are five books to help build your brand 


Clarity Wins, by Steve Woodruff  

The subtitle of this contemporary classic is “Get heard. Get referred.” The basic premise of the book is it’s a noisy world out there and we can’t assume that people are connecting with our message, let alone sharing it with others. He urges leaders to embrace “pigeonholing” because those who try to say too much encourage consumer shutdown; anybody trying to sell anything better be focused on their superpower. If you’ve participated in one of our JS Excavation® brand strategy projects, you know we quote this book a lot. It’s filled with great insights and what the author calls “memory darts.” 

View Clarity Wins on Amazon 



The Brand Gap, by Marty Neumeier 

You can finish this book over a long commute or plane ride and it’s well worth skipping inflight entertainment to absorb its lessons. Neumeier tells us what a brand really is (hint: not a logo or tagline) and offers five steps to create one. He boils it all down to three key questions, which we always ask our clients who come to us for brand strategy. We consider The Brand Gap an essential reference tool for anyone serious about building a stand-out brand. It’s one we re-read every few years and reference all the time. 

View The Brand Gap on Amazon or Bookshop 


Building a Story Brand, by Donald Miller 

Here’s another page-turner that’s fun to read while packing in a lot of wisdom. Miller breaks down the essence of storytelling into seven steps that can help marketers talk so their audiences will listen. It’s the same construct used by great authors and filmmakers and it can lead to breakthrough results for business leaders, too. If you’re struggling with how to write compelling messages or sales copy, this one’s for you. It will not collect dust on the shelf, we promise! 

View Building a Brand Story on Amazon or Bookshelf 


Be the GO-TO, by Theresa M. Lina 

The author, a former consultant at Accenture, wrote this book to help leaders achieve industry dominance. It’s not only a marketing book, but also a primer for how to build a successful business. Her subtitle says it all: “How to Own your Competitive Market, Charge More and Have Customers Love You for It.” This one reads like a textbook in parts, but we pulled out some great ideas that we’re using in our client sessions. One of the highlights for me was her analysis of how Nasa built its case to America for the Apollo mission. 

View Be the GO-TO on Amazon or Bookshelf 


Hello My Name is Awesome, by Alexandra Watkins  

This is my personal favorite because I love naming companies and organizations. I’ve consumed tons of books on the topic, and this one is the one I go back to repeatedly. Watkins is quick-witted and sassy, which makes for a fun read. If you think catchy names are only for consumer brands, then you’ll think differently after taking the author’s “smile” and “scratch” tests.  

We’re already off and running with a new slate of branding books for 2023—all published in the last 24 months. We can’t wait to see if these new titles reinforce our thinking, broaden our perspectives or give us new tools for the toolbox. Stay tuned!  

View Hello My Name is Awesome on Amazon or Bookshelf 


Jackson Spalding | Branding Agency in Atlanta, Dallas, LA 

Jackson Spalding’s Brand Strategy Team helps our clients discover what sets them apart and how to best communicate those differences. If the ideas in any of these books strike a chord (or if you want to join our book club), contact us. We’d love to discuss how they can be applied to developing your own brand narrative.