Branding Mastery: Essential Reads for Mastering Branding Art

Whether you’re a solopreneur or run a huge business, branding is essential. Effective branding can be the difference between failing and becoming a six-figure success. You need to perfect your branding to set out the right messages and attract your target audience. 

Whenever I want to find out more about something, I turn to books. The same goes when it comes to personal branding and business branding. Books are excellent sources of information when you know which titles to read! They allow the author to dive deep into the topic. Plus, you get a comprehensive overview and detailed strategies. That’s why I put together this guide to the best books on branding for you! 

Read on to discover the must-have branding and marketing books you need to have on your shelves. You’ll devour these books in days. But, you’ll also find yourself coming back to them any time you need a quick refresher on branding. 

10 Branding Books everyone should read in 2021

What is Branding?

If you’re a business owner, or you are embarking on the adventure of entrepreneurship, you have probably heard that you need to create the right brand identity for your business. but what does that mean exactly? And why is it so important? A business can be represented by a person (an artist, a graphic designer, for example), or take the form of a craft business.

Every business needs a clear, intentional brand. That includes everything from your logo and design to your marketing and messaging. It’s what will make your business stand out from your competitors. 

Branding is more than than just selling a specific product. Branding means creating a story behind the company. What are your values? Do you have a Unique Selling Point? And how do you want people to perceive the business?

Creating an effective brand identity is crucial in building up your customer base. It can help to boost loyalty or bring new customers to the company. Branding covers everything from marketing, product design, customer service, and your pricing strategy. There are a lot of moving parts. That’s why it’s essential to read up on branding. I’ll share some of the best branding books below, so read on!

What is Personal Branding?

You might think that branding is only relevant to business owners and influencers. But that’s not true! Every single person from the CEO to the employee has to present themselves to others. This is where personal branding comes in. 

Personal branding is the story you tell about yourself. It’s what you stand for, your reputation, values, and attributes. It’s all the pieces that make you different from someone else. Having a clear personal brand can help you stand out from the crowd. It can be vital in getting hired for your dream job or progressing in your career.

Your brand can come across in the clothes you wear, how you communicate, and how you hold yourself. If you act calm and confident, you will create a very different vision than if you’re nervous and agitated. But it’s not always easy to navigate these waters on your own. You need the advice of some experts on personal branding. There are some excellent books on personal branding to guide you through the process!

Creating your personal brand will ensure that people see you in the way you want them to. You can alter people’s perceptions by working on your brand. And if you’ve not been portraying yourself in the best way, don’t worry! The way people perceive you isn’t set in stone. You can improve others’ perceptions of you and cultivate that ideal personal brand!

The Best Books on Branding

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Building a StoryBrand

(Image credit: Donald Miller)

There’s a lot more to marketing than selling. Instead, you need to make connections with customers. The best way to do that is through storytelling. In this book, Donald Miller explains why telling stories is so compelling. Plus, he shares how to tell the right stories using seven universal story points:

  1. A character
  2. Has a Problem
  3. And Meets a Guide
  4. Who Gives Them a Plan
  5. And Call Them to Action
  6. That Helps Them Avoid Failure
  7. And Ends in a Success

If you can master these techniques, you’ll find that they have a massive impact on your business. You’ll simplify your marketing and create powerful messaging across all your platforms! This is a must-read for any business owner, as you can apply these tips to any size business.

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Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

(Image credit: Jonah Berger)

If you’re curious about why specific ideas and businesses take off, you need to pick up this book. Jonah Berger explains what makes some products successful, while others crash and burn. Most importantly, you’ll learn about the incredible power of word of mouth.

In the current age, word of mouth is often overlooked. Instead, people splash out on expensive online ads, but they’re missing a trick! Whether you’re launching or growing a business, the insights in this book are invaluable. With simple steps and engaging writing style, this book is an easy read, but it’s well worth the time!

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Start With Why

Start With Why

(Image credit: Simon Sinek)

In this ground-breaking book, Simon Sinek examines why some businesses are so successful. Why do they command so much loyalty from their customers? In his opinion, it all comes down to the ‘Why’ of the business.

For any product, idea, or project to succeed, there needs to be a clear ‘why’ behind it. That’s what drives success and will get people to buy! This book shares insightful examples of some of the most influential. Then, Sinek maps out a simple framework that you can follow and put in place in your business. Once you’ve learned from these incredible people, you can start applying it to your own work.

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Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide to Visual Branding

(Image credit: David Airey)

Visual branding is a crucial component of any brand identity. What you see influences how you perceive a business. It affects whether you buy their products or become a loyal customer. Visual branding covers the logo, product design, packaging, and much more. 

Identity Designed is an excellent introduction to visual branding by David Airey. Everyone from graphic designers to founders and CEOs should grab this book today. It provides a simple breakdown of visual branding principles. Plus, you’ll find real-life examples to help illustrate the different concepts. You can take inspiration from these top-quality case studies to guide your own work.

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Designing Brand Identity

(Image credit: Alina Wheeker – Wiley)

If you’re looking for an introduction to branding, Alina Wheeler’s book ticks all the boxes. Anyone can start reading this book to get a firm understanding of effective branding.

Wheeler starts by explaining the fundamental principles of branding. Next, you’ll develop a sense of the branding process, with help from detailed case studies. Hundreds of illustrations illustrate the key points. This makes it easier to understand (and replicate). This is one of the best branding books for anyone just getting started with branding. It’s straightforward, accessible, and comprehensive.

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The Best Books on Personal Branding

Digital You: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age

(Image credit: William Arruda)

If you don’t know where to start with personal branding, this book is the perfect guide. Author William Arruda asks the right questions to help you discover your brand. It’s not about ‘creating’ a personal brand; it’s more about searching inside yourself for the answers. 

Arruda also walks you through how to make an impactful first impression. You’ll also learn how to master your messaging on social media and become a leader in the world. The actionable tips make this one of the best personal branding books around.

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Stand Out

(Image credit: Doris Clark)

In a world full of competing voices, it’s never been more important to stand out from the crowd. Dorie Clark guides you through becoming a respected thought leader in your niche. And it’s not as easy as it sounds!

Clark has years of experience. Through her insights, you’ll discover how to identify your value and impact the world. You are an expert in your field, and Clark will show you how to get your voice heard! Clark also demonstrates how to develop big ideas, grow a community, and give back to the world.

Clark uses illuminating examples of the biggest thought leaders in the world today. You’ll learn from experts like Seth Godin and David Allen. Then, you’ll feel confident enough to put yourself out there as a leader, too!

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The Breakthrough Speaker: How to Build a Public Speaking Career

(Image credit: Smiley Poswolsky)

Public speaking can be a scary prospect for a lot of people. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You have plenty of value to share with the world. With this book, you’ll learn how to beat your fears and speak eloquently and impactfully.

On this journey, professional keynote speaker Adam Smiley Poswolsky is your guide. Poswolsky has gone from a nervous speaker to a world-famous presenter. So, he understands the difficulties of public speaking and how to overcome them. 

In this book, he shares practical tips, tools, interviews with other prominent speakers. There are even interactive exercises to help you practice! This comprehensive book will prepare you to tackle any speaking opportunity with confidence!

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Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media 

(Image credit: Brittany Hennessy)

Today, everyone needs to have an online presence in order to get her or his message across. But you also need to be portraying yourself in the right way online! Social media can make or break your reputation and your career. If you’re nervous about how to do this, you need to start reading this handy guide today!

Brittany Hennessey covers a lot of ground in this unique book. You’ll uncover the secrets of building an online audience and nailing your branding. Plus, she’ll show you how to start monetizing, so you can turn an expensive hobby into a career. Any aspiring influencer should have this book on their shelves and refer to it regularly!

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Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

(Image credit: Gary Vaynerchuk)

It’s never been easier to escape the corporate world and redesign your life on your own terms. Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to start earning money from your hobbies. Don’t be discouraged; this isn’t just a pipe dream!

If you have any burning passions or interests, Vaynerchuk will show you how to turn that into a career. He breaks down the 4 biggest myths people have about the entrepreneurial life. Then, he shares strategies and tips to allow you to do this, too! You’ll learn how to harness social media and build an online business.

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The Wrap Up

So there you have some of the best branding and personal branding books in 2020! These reads are essential for any business owner, influencer, or thought leader. But anyone can benefit from reading up on personal branding. Then, you can apply to your own life. So, snap up a few of these books, settle in with a cozy drink, and start reading!

Let me know which of these books you’re more interested in! Or if there are any titles that I missed, let me know in the comments below! Then, make sure that you sign up for the Proactive Creative newsletter. I’ll keep you in the loop with the best resources for creative people and professionals!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.

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