My office is piled high with books. Kind of unexpected for a woman who can't get through a single day of work without her delicious tags, RSS feeds and twitter archives. I get inspired online, but that's never slowed my appetite for books. Industry books, fiction books, culture books. I like the ones that go deep on how to think about an idea, that give a clear and fresh perspective.
There are a lot of new and old marketing tomes on my shelf (and more on my boss's shelf ... he's very sneaky with nabbing those things), but five really stand out this year:
This one was the reason I started this post. I've followed author Bob Gilbreath for years. He's the wicked smart chief strategist at Bridge Worldwide and he's written the MarketingWithMeaning.com blog since its inception.
Bob looks at how break-through brands are connecting with today's sophisticated customers. What he finds is that to really make an impact, the marketing itself has to add value to our lives. The case studies are all entirely repeatable (after all, why buy a business book if you can't quote it later and sound brilliant in a meeting??) and the insights are, well, meaningful.
Get a free chapter: I got a note from Amanda Hill asking that I pass on word that you can download a free chapter to preview the book today. They'll even make a donation to a good cause (ok, the cause is making more advertisers, but still) if you do. Get yours.
Four more faves:
Igniting the Brand
This skinny volume by Jonathan Cahill is full of ideas that worked. Quick sketches of marketing strategies that paid off big for large and small companies the world over.
Here Comes Everybody
Clay Shirky is a natural storyteller. His enthusiasm and curiosity come through in every story about how technology is changing our culture. The examples go deep on how our expectations are evolving and how that's changing the way we see the world - from where we spend our time to who we trust to what we shop for.
The Whuffie Factor
Tara Hunt makes one of my favorite arguments brilliantly - that the currency of the social web isn't revenue, it's reputation. Her native look at how people and brands use it concentrates on the basics of how to socialize your brand: authenticity, listening, engaging, and trusting.
Putting the Public Back in Public Relations
Social media has changed no industry more than public relations. The last few years have represented nothing short of a revolution of the model. Brian Solis takes a thoughtful approach to what public relations means now, with lots of real-world examples on where communication and expectations are going.