Making Meaning

This book was a little more focused on large corporations than I was expecting (eg: they discuss hiring ethnographers to roll out new services to foreign markets), but it had some ideas that really resonated with me. This passage describes my philosophy about brand development nicely:

Experience branding is a company’s effort to be consistent in its value proposition and its expression in every connection to the consumer.

I also marked the comprehensive – but not exhaustive – list of universally valued experiences. Of the 15 presented, I really think wonder, accomplishment, and community have the best potential for my future work.

Buy this book.

Content Strategy for The Web

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This book is aimed at helping teams tasked with managing larger websites get a handle on the content they work with. The book has an effective way of auditing the existing content, so you can make better plans for new content. One section that I really liked advocated the use of website style guidelines for content; a powerful tool for keeping your messaging tight and consistent.

Buy this book.

The Six Weapons of Influence

I just finished a book that does a fantastic job of describing many of the ways we are influenced every day to act irrationally. I’ve had on my reading list for a very long time, and I’m stunned at how clearly I can see it’s lessons in my day-to-day life. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini explains the concepts well, and then supplies some strong examples and case studies that help flush out the concepts further.

There are six “weapons of influence”:

When someone does something nice for you – even if you didn’t request it, or accept it – you feel compelled to return the favour in kind.

Commitment and Consistency
Once you’ve made a public commitment to an idea or goal, you feel compelled to honour that idea, and extensions of that idea.

Social Proof
Simply, you will do things that you see other people doing.

You will tend to obey those that you perceive as an authority figure, even if you are asked to perform objectionable acts.

You are more easily influenced by people you like.

You value things more highly if you believe that they are scarce.

Cialdini does a great job of flushing out these concepts in a compelling and relevant way. This book is a must-read for marketers.