Ad-Free Brand Introduction

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Introduction to The Ad-Free Brand

Do you dream of building a world-class brand? If so, your time has come.

In the past, great brands were only within reach of organizations with the biggest marketing budgets.

Today you can build a powerful, enduring brand at an amazingly low cost – without expensive ad campaigns, huge budgets, self-interested outside agencies, or deep specialized expertise.

So if you lack the money for an expensive advertising campaign, if you question the value of your current marketing and advertising strategies, or you’d like to move beyond superficial applications of the latest digital media tools, you’ve come to the right place.

The Ad-Free Brand is a complete, step-by-step guide to building a brand from the inside out, using the energy and passion of the community of people who care about it most, both inside and around the organization.

ad-free brand: A brand built from the inside out using the energy and passion of the community of people who care about it most, both in and around an organization.

Why an Ad-Free Brand?

Every day advertising appears somewhere new—on an airplane tray table, on the sidewalk, in our schools, written in the sky, printed on your clothes, embedded in your favorite TV show.

Yet traditional advertising has never been less effective than it is today. It has become background noise filtered out by our brains before most of it can even register.

I reject the notion that adding to the clutter of advertising is a necessary element of building a great brand.

I believe money and time can be much better spent investing in meaningful, productive relationships with the community of people in and around the organization who care deeply about a brand. These people are an energy source waiting to be activated. Properly engaged, they can help your brand succeed in ways that advertising never will. And a new breed of digital media tools and strategies has made it easier and cheaper to identify, organize, and motivate your brand community than ever before.

The Ad-Free Brand marries the classic positioning principles used to develop many of the great brands of the 20th century to the new community-building strategies and tools now available for 21st century brands.

The best of the old world meets the best of the new.

Who Can Use This Book

You don’t need a marketing background or previous marketing experience to build a great brand. Some of the best new brands are being built by people who wouldn’t consider themselves marketing experts at all.

I’ve written this book to be useful to anyone who is interesting in building a world-class brand. So whether you have 50 years of brand experience or no experience, whether you are in an organization of 10,000 employees or CEO in a company of one, you can use the concepts you’ll find in these pages to build a more valuable, enduring brand.

Do any of the following statements describe you?

  • I’m interested in reducing or eliminating advertising, marketing, or PR expenses where I am receiving little value in return.
  • I’m competing against organizations I’ll never be able to outspend.
  • I’d like to develop more valuable, sustainable relationships with customers, employees, or other communities.
  • I see the benefit of building a more resilient, enduring brand that can weather crises that might destroy other brands.
  • I’d like to nurture a community of people that will be open to—and even prefer—new products, services, and ideas from my organization.
  • I’d like to innovate faster and incorporate the ideas of the people in the communities surrounding my brand.
  • I’d like to ensure my organization is successful at recruiting and retaining the best and most passionate workforce available.

By the time we are done here, you’ll have the knowledge you need to create a great brand of your own that can do all of these things—at a lower cost than was ever possible before.

What’s in this Book?

The Ad-Free Brand is a step-by-step guide to building a brand using a collaborative, community-based approach I learned during my ten years building a $1B brand at Red Hat, the world’s leading open source software company.

In this book, you’ll learn how to conduct simple, inexpensive research to uncover what your brand stands for today and what people might value in it down the road. You learn how to develop brand positioning that is desirable to your community, deliverable by the brand, and differentiated from the competition by collaborating with trusted members of your brand community. Finally, I’ll share techniques and strategies for rolling out this positioning internally and externally in meaningful ways without resorting to advertising.

By the time you have finished, you’ll know how to:

  • Sidestep the clutter, cost, and ineffectiveness of traditional advertising
  • Identify “points of difference” your customers will really value
  • Develop brand positioning that “feels” true because it is true
  • Dramatically reduce the cost of brand research
  • Build your brand by guiding, influencing, and being—not telling
  • Quickly prototype your brand position, and apply what you learn
  • Empower the brand advocates who know and love you best
  • Communicate brand positioning with low-cost social and web tools
  • Adapt classic positioning techniques for today’s new world
  • Consistently focus first on low-cost, high-value strategies
  • Evolve your brand for changing markets, customers, products, and services

Sound interesting? Then check out the rest of the book—it’s time to build an ad-free brand of your own.

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Hey, I Wrote a Book!

The Ad-Free Brand: Secrets to Building Successful Brands in a Digital World

Available now in print and electronic versions.

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