If you haven’t had the chance to pick up a copy of The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier, we highly suggest you do. This insightful guide to branding, published in 2005 remains as applicable to today’s current business environment as the day it was written.

The Brand Gap examines how “Strategy and creativity, in most companies, are separated by a mile-wide chasm.” Anytime there’s a rift between these two components of a company or business, there’s a brand gap, and it puts you and your business at an immense disadvantage. Neumeier methodically provides solutions in closing the gap once and for all in ways that are refreshing and captivating.

When it was released, it was leagues ahead of its time, and in many ways, still is today. Many of the crucial brand-building lessons divulged in The Brand Gap are aspects of branding that the vast majority of businesses still do not employ to this day – but they absolutely should.

Why? Well, Marty said it best:

Branding is arguably the most powerful business tool since the spreadsheet, and the fact that many businesses still don’t recognize the power of a great brand is astonishing!

This quick little guide can be read in the span of an afternoon and provide you and your business with the tools to develop a successful brand that’s capable of standing the test of time. It’s also a must-read for all agency creatives, marketers, and advertising professionals.

The book itself is the quintessential example of great things coming in small packages. Each paragraph is expertly written, impeccably concise and packed to the brim with pertinent information. Yet it remains accessible to audiences with varying levels of expertise; from the first-time entrepreneur to the seasoned executive.

The easily digestible guide includes a plethora of examples, diagrams, and photos that are not only visually stimulating but also allow Neumeier’s points to penetrate easily into the mind of the reader.

While some of the examples – just a few really – are somewhat outdated, they still manage to invoke a sense of resonation and understanding so that each concept can be fully understood and put into practice with flawless expertise and fluidity.

Working your way from understanding what a brand actually is and the connotations that surround it, Neumeier examines each aspect of building a successful brand. From naming your brand to the importance of giving your brand anthropomorphic qualities, he discusses branding in a rational sequential order that feels natural and honestly, just makes sense.

Neumeier dubs these aspects, “The Five Disciplines of Branding,” which include the following; Differentiate, Collaborate, Innovate, Validate, and Cultivate. By mastering each discipline, your brand will be well on its way to becoming a leading competitor in any industry.

If you’ve often found yourself reading business-enhancement literature only to discover that you’re more confused/overwhelmed by the last page than you were when you picked up the damn thing in the first place, then this book will alter your notions on the genre altogether by providing a glimpse of what business literature could be.

When internally researching your new or existing brand, one must merely answer three questions:

Who are you? What do you do? Why does it matter?

For example, according to Neumeier when internally researching your new or existing brand to unearth whether or not it’s a viable business endeavour, one must merely answer three seemingly straightforward questions; who are you? What do you do? Why does it matter?

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, it is… until you try applying it to your own business model only to discover that it’s the simple questions that are often the hardest to answer.

Neumeier explains: “Without compelling answers to all three questions, meaning that your customers find them irresistible, you haven’t got a brand.”

Luckily, he generously provides readers with the tools to answer these surprisingly provocative questions in ways that matter.

This straight-to-the-point method of disclosing information adds to the charm of the book. It’s a no-bullshit approach to problem-solving, and you can rest assured that each sentence you read has been added purposefully to serve you and your brand.

Our staff at Valiant found it an utter joy to read – even though it’s actually mandatory reading material here at Valiant. What truly sets it above other branding books is its degree of practicality and profound simplicity.

Furthermore, Neumeier provides a brief summary at the end of the book in addition to a glossary of terms as a quick-reference guide for when you need answers in a pinch or find yourself second-guessing yourself on a challenging project.

For agency professionals, the book acts as a way of grounding yourself back to the basics, back to the most fundamental aspects of branding that must, at all costs, be addressed adequately to achieve any degree of success.

Whether your trying to reinvigorate a century-old brand or are developing a new brand from the ground up, The Brand Gap is an essential read to ensure you’re doing everything you can to stand apart from competitors, engage consumers, and reinforce your position in the market.

The lessons discussed throughout have the capacity to inspire action in everyone involved in elevating your brand to becoming the brand you want to be, from CEOs to customers and everyone in-between.

Pick up your copy of The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier on Amazon.