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THE SALSIFY SMARTER MERCHANDISING BLOG

The 5 Must-Read Books for Every Brand in 2018

Posted by Cara Wood on 9:51 AM on December 26, 2017

Over the last year, the pace of new technology and retail strategy has skyrocketed. Brand CMOs and CIOs struggle to keep pace with their competition, the demands from retailers and the demands from consumers -- not to mention leaving room to track new trends or technologies that could be worth early testing. Here are five books we recommend for brand leaders that want to thrive in the digital age:

1. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google by Scott Galloway

The four cover.jpegThe focus: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have become the four most influential companies on the planet. NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway examines each company’s strengths, challenges, and market opportunities for working with and competing against each of them. While unpacking each corporate strategy, Galloway reveals the lessons behind their ascent and how to apply them to your own business or career.

Why it's a must read: Galloway makes the case that consumers increasingly prefer a channel-agnostic experience, where digital is the connective tissue. Brands need to understand the primary players in consumers digital lives in order to survive and navigate the market today.

2. Radical Business Model Transformation: Gaining the Competitive Edge in a Disruptive World, by Carsten Linz, Günter Müller-Stevens and Alexander Zimmerman

Radical Business Model Transformation cover.jpgThe focus: Looking to change the way your company does business or in the middle of a digital transformation? Business leaders and academic authors, Carsten Linz, Günter Müller-Stevens and Alexander Zimmerman, provide a glut of examples from the corporate world on a variety of business models that successfully took on change. This book provides an excellent roadmap to monitoring your progress and helping you select the business model that is right for you.

Why it's a must read: In a rapidly globalizing and changing market, brands need a strategy built for constant iteration. Linz, Müller-Stevens and Zimmerman make the case for a business strategy that uses an incrementally and perpetually flowing series of criteria - rather than a static set of benchmarks. The wise business is the one that is aware of the need to change the way they think about strategy and does so continually.

3. Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior, by Jonah Berger

invisible-influence-9781476759739_lg.jpgThe focus: Wharton Marketing Professor Jonah Berger's latest book looks at how personal choices are influenced by the larger social forces at play in an individual's world. With examples from science, business and psychology he makes a compelling case for how marketing can understand its potential impact on the personal tastes and opinions of shoppers.

Why it's a must read: In addition to building a better understanding of some of the invisible forces that may influence your shoppers and your own opinions, Berger's book demonstrates how you can make better-informed decisions and exercise more control over your own behavior. The competing desires in a shopper to imitate but be unique mean the most successful new products are similar to the competition but just different enough.

4. The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams, by Sam Walker

the-captain-class-sam-walker-3d-cover1-721x1024.jpgThe focus: Wall Street Journal deputy editor and a former sports columnist Sam Walker analyzes the seven attributes shared by captains of champion sports teams throughout history.

Why it's a must read: You can't take on digital transformation on your own. Just like a winning sports team, success on the digital landscape is going to require teamwork and a shared goal of winning. Walkers discoveries on the qualities great captains share will help you lead your team to victory as well as hire and groom the rest of your team. The winning captains did a lot of the grunt work necessary but also had a tendency to test the rules when locked in an important competition.

5. Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson

Machine Platform Crowd_MPC_Cover 150.jpgThe focus: Digitization, the rise of AI, and the growing ability to tap the crowd are creating a host of new opportunities — and posing a new set of challenges. MIT's Sloan School of Management authors Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson have written a guidebook on how businesses can best use artificial intelligence today.

Why it's a must read: While this book delves into the specific challenges and opportunities that AI and digital offer businesses, at its core it explores how companies should think about innovation. McAfee and Brynjolfsson argue that management and organization matters and creates value when innovating and exploring how to use new technologies.

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