TNW Book Review: “Breakthrough Branding" by Catherine Kaputa

“Breakthrough Branding" by Catherine Kaputa Our book reviewer Faith Brewitt takes a look at “Breakthrough Branding, How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a Small Idea into a Big Brand”, by Catherine Kaputa.

This is what the publisher has to say about the book:

From the grassroots growth of beverage brands like Red Bull, Honest Tea, and Innocent, to the exploding growth of digital brands like Twitter, Weibo, and Groupon; from the cult appeal of stores like Forever 21, to the success of 
virtual retailers like Zappos – successful companies of all types and sizes begin with three things: ambition, a winning idea, and a brand strategy.

Successful entrepreneurs develop what branding strategist Catherine Kaputa refers to as a unique selling proposition. In her book, BREAKTHROUGH BRANDING (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, June 2012), Kaputa argues that the most successful brands arise from singular and competitive ideas. Referencing dozens of US and international brand stories, she highlights strategies that make a brand thrive and then explains how to rework these methodologies according to your personal brand model.

Kaputa addresses her entrepreneurial readers how she would her clients, with the kind of depth and detail that accounts for her own success as founder of SelfBrand, a NYC-based personal branding company. BREAKTHROUGH BRANDING is not about developing products or product placement, but about defining your personal brand identity. For Kaputa, leaders who weave their personalities and values into their business brands maximize their success. She explains the importance of verbal identity, visual identity, and 
personality in branding both you and your business:

  • Verbal identity: the brand’s name, special words, a brand sentence, a tagline, or a concept statement
  • Visual identity: design elements like color, images, and type fonts
  • Brand personality: blogging, tweeting, and other web-specific platforms as a means to communicate your brand voice

Kaputa writes, “Especially in today’s digital world, people want to know who you are…They want to know your story. This book will show you how to develop it and get it out there.”

And what did our reviewer think? Over to Faith ...

Living in Beijing means a dearth of the latest English marketing and business books, and I’m addicted to business books. So I’m always excited when a book like “Breakthrough Branding, How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a Small Idea into a Big Brand” by Catherine Kaputa comes across my desk to review.

I am telling everyone I know about this book and even suggesting it to young Chinese students who are just about to graduate and are thinking about what they want to do for work.

Those of you who loved her first book, "The Female Brand, Using the Female Mindset to Succeed in Business" will not be disappointed as she weaves a very logically organized discussion about how to push your company’s brand to the next level. What I found most appealing was that “Breakthrough Branding” is the kind of book that anyone can benefit from whether you read a single chapter or cover to cover.  The chapters are both aptly named and provide a variety of case studies and insights, like in her “Brainstormer” pull-outs.    

Catherine clearly knows her stuff, when it comes to brand marketing. I am a big fan of Al Ries, and I’d put Catherine on the same level of insider understanding and creative advice with some of his best.

At various times, I found myself nodding along as I read because she was writing about a situation that practically mirrored a real situation with one of my clients.

I found one line in the book to be so inspiringly true that I’ve actually written it down in my office - “Better entrepreneurs don’t win.  Entrepreneurs who are perceived to be better win.”

That kind of insight is invaluable for young companies and first-time entrepreneurs. Catherine delivers these pearls using a sense of humor, passion and personality that leaps out from the first page. I found it quite an energizing read. I was also very pleased to see so many Chinese business examples in the book.

When I find a new business book that I love, I give it out to my teams, friends and female entrepreneurs that I work with – I will definitely be stocking up on copies of “Breakthrough Branding”, that’s the best recommendation I can give.

Faith is a senior branding executive in Beijing with 17 years international experience managing global public relations programs for leading brands in the United States, China and Asia Pacific. She also sits on the advisory board of Girls in Tech China. Faith has held positions as general manager of Fleishman Hillard, regional technology practice director of Hill & Knowlton and global communications director for Dell Consumer, Small & Medium Business. In 2010, Faith created the Dell Women Entrepreneur Network.  For more information, see her website.

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