Whether you’re starting your own agency or freelance career, competition is fierce. You’re either facing a giant in the space or a thousand other hopeful entrepreneurs or freelancers like yourself.
How do you stand out? Through carefully-executed branding.
Brands help to create a relatable identity and personality for the collective efforts of an organization. Without a brand, businesses seem inhuman, without values or purpose. That’s why it is crucial for businesses to nail down their brand— then ensure that it’s consistently communicated on all channels.
Branding can be notoriously difficult. It is, after all, mostly subjective. Thankfully, there are a few books you can read to follow the golden rules of branding, for your business or for yourself.
Best book on branding for entrepreneurs and business owners
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
All branding is ultimately based on a company’s ability to tell a story. Ask yourself, “why was this brand created? What separates it from other brands? What value can we provide to customers?” The answers, you will find, won’t always come easily.
In New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller’s book, you will learn about the StoryBrand process, allowing you to better tell your story and brand message. Miller covers the main points of a story that customers pay the most attention, as well as some tricks for clearly communicating your brand across all channels.
Best branding book based on a true story
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
In the early 60s, business school graduate Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father to start a shoe company, importing cheap but high quality from Japan. He made $8000 in his first year. Now, Nike is a multibillion-dollar company, endorsed by the world’s leading athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, while still having an everyman appeal.
In his memoir, Knight shares his story of how he built one of the most recognizable brands in history. Whether you’re a startup or a decades-old business, you can learn a thing or two about Knight’s legacy with the world-renown sneaker brand.
Best book on branding for designers
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Team by Alina Wheeler
Designers have to think differently about brands- they’re usually the ones responsible for the aesthetics of a certain brand. At the same time, they must understand the process not just for designing a brand, but for implementing their decisions as well.
Designing Brand Identity is a staple resource for anyone looking for a guide into brand or identity design. The book features 50 case studies of real branding processes and their results, as well as hundreds of diagrams, illustrations, and other visual aids. Perfect for both marketing managers and aspiring design students alike, this book features a comprehensive guide to branding fundamentals that are critical to launching or even re-launching a brand.
Best book on branding for freelancers
Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho
Interested in building brands as a freelance career? It takes a lot more research and hard work, but the reward of having built it yourself makes it all worth it. Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho demonstrate how to take a simple hobby into a long-term career.
Creative, Inc. is for illustrators, photographers, designers, animators, and other branding experts struggling to put their work out there. This book is brimming with useful advice on developing a portfolio and business that stands out from the crowd. If you’re just getting started as a freelancer or you’ve been thinking about it for some time, be sure to pick up this great book on branding.
Best book on personal branding
Branding doesn’t just apply to businesses and entrepreneurs – in fact, it goes hand-in-hand with how you market yourself. It may be strange to think of one’s self as a brand, but in terms of finding new partnerships and creating business opportunities, it is no different from marketing and branding anything else.
The “Youpreneur” may sound unconventional, but it’s really a way to describe the new kind of entrepreneur- the personal brand entrepreneur. Youpreneurs aren’t bound by the traditional set of rules, but they still manage to stay as leaders within their niche. Regardless of what kind of business industry you may be in, this book will help you learn what it takes to become more successful in your career.
Best book on brand engagement
Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
You built a visually unique brand… now what? Many designers and marketers know how to initiate a brand strategy, but few can adapt their strategy for long-term success. Ultimately, it’s about developing a sense of trust, offering something original, and hooking customers enough to make them your own brand ambassadors.
That’s exactly what Jonah Berger’s Contagious is all about. Why do some viral videos circulate millions of times, while others are quickly forgotten? How come anti-drug ads can actually lead to higher drug use? And what truly makes an idea popular? These are just a few of the questions posed by Berger in his book, and we highly recommend it for anyone seeking prolonged customer connections.
Craving for some more entrepreneurial insight? Check out these must-watch TED talks we discussed in a previous blog post.
Follow Novel Coworking‘s blog for more resources for entrepreneurs, business owners, and freelancers.