BRAND ATLAS: Branding intelligence made visible by Alina Wheeler and Joel Katz

Genres: Marketing, Branding, Design

Rating: 3/5

Recommend to: Product managers, Designers, Marketers, Start-up founders, Influencers.

Number of pages: 144 pages


Sometimes there are topics that you are really interested in but you just don’t know where to start. So much information, and so much to learn… For example you are interested in being an entrepreneur. So you want to build a business. In today’s world that means you are building at least one brand to become recognizable in todays loud and saturated world of “I am the best company/brand.” So how do you achieve that? How do you stand out of the crowd? How are you not just one of the trees in a forest?

Well for you to understand what it takes for that to happen books like Brand Atlas are here to help you out. As you will read later in the book review, the purpose of the book is to in short and simple way explain all of the elements that are needed to successfully build a brand. With this book you will not go into depth about each step of the branding process but you will read just enough about them to get a feeling about what you need to learn more. Or which part of the branding process you need to take to the next level.

If you go deep into the psychology of what a brand is and what it represents you will not take the branding process lightly. You can have the best product and the best service possible, but if people do not connect with the product or service a lesser / weaker product or service can overcome yours. A brand is a promise that your customers will have the same experience every time they turn to you for your service or product and that they can trust you, and that you stand for what your customers stand for (same values). This being said you should automatically shift your focus on the needs and emotions of your customers and where and how you can connect with them. Still today businesses have difficulties connecting with their customers and creating that win-win / trust relationship. One reason for that is the wrong style of communication – not asking for feedback, or if business are doing that then they are not responding to it in the right manner. When building a brand you also have to take into consideration your employees not just your customers. Your employees are the ones in touch with your customers and they are the ones connecting, creating experience for the customers and getting their trust. So for starters to grow a healthy brand you must first grow a healthy in-house company culture from which you then create a healthy customer culture. Building a brand is building a human experience, personalized for each person no mater if he is a customer, employee, investor, supplier, etc…

The book is a short and easy read. But it is not to be overlooked so easily. Even the best “masters” of their trade have to retrace their steps back to the basics. Like the author shares with us, her purpose was to make a book about branding, that will explain branding in simple terms with graphic presentations so that everyone can understand the importance of each and every element in branding (“distilling relevant ideas and imperatives of brand thinking to their essence”.) And in my opinion she succeeded. Though you will not find any in-depth explanations you will get the big picture – literally.


  • Design thinking is an emerging methodology used by forward-thinking businesses to achieve radical, sustainable innovation in products and services. The process is powered by a deep understanding of user needs, desires and perceptions.
  • Give your customers something to talk about. Provide an accessible way for customers to express themselves. Use the power of word of mouth.
  • Before social networks changed the relationship, brand conversation was one-way, flowing from company to consumer.
  • Consumers are active participants in the brand building process. The company’s role is to listen and respond with a human voice, not a packaged message.
  • It is vital that brands maintain their promises, adapt products to local needs and cultures, and take the long view on building communities and living in an interconnected world.
  • Brands that embrace social networking can tune in to their customers intimately, listening to the undercurrents, discovering unmet needs, identifying new markets, engaging new customers, building trust and creating messages that resonate.
  • Innovators and brand builders are forming global tribes, tapping into the wisdom of the crowd and open source collaboration.
  • Transparency is the new privacy. Traditionally damage control involved the suppression of information, but those day are over. Today companies who need to recover from a crisis must be open, sharing as much detail as possible.
  • Making a difference has become integral to building brands. Consumers are shopping their values.
  • Big consumer brands use crowdsourcing as a way to engage their audience in brand building, inspiring customers to make a video, create a slogan, or design something cool in exchange for a moment of media glory.
  • Brands that recognize the role of desire can position their products and communications to address primary human needs.
  • The best brands satisfy more than one need, fulfilling higher desires at the same time (Maslows hierarchy of needs).
  • Brands who do one thing better than anyone else and deliver on their promises are unstoppable.
  • Consumers are drawn to brands that they perceive are original, engaging, and responsive – that live up to their promise, their vision, values, culture and personality.
  • Brand alignment is very important. Every time customers experience a brand, it should feel familiar.
  • The brain acknowledges shapes first, followed by an emotional connection to color. Third and last the brain reads text and understands language.
  • To resonate and reach any audience with a compelling idea, message, or logo, teams must strive for simplicity.
  • Resist complexity. Take the time to reduce meaning to its essence. Realize that your customers are reassured by repetition and recognition.
  • Long-term success is directly influenced by the way employees share in their company’s culture – its values, stories, symbols and heroes.
  • Building a brand from the inside out means inspiring employees to embrace the purpose of the organization and to commit to the values of the culture.
  • The insights, opinions, and feedback of customers can be the catalyst for change and lead to breakthrough products and compelling new customer experiences.
  • Find ways to see the world through the eyes and experiences of your customers.
  • The point of sales is one of many opportunities to build trust and to extend the customer relationship.
  • No brand can be successfully built without determining the brand essence: the central idea, unifying concept, key messages and the voice and tone of the brand.


martin Lindstrom Brandwashed
Customer value
The Branded Mind by Erik du Plessis



Thank you for your time. I hope you have found this book review helpful. Talk to you in the comment section.

purpose focus commitment

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