Traveling from Maine to Florida today offered up an opportunity for me to delve into a book I’ve had on my nightstand for a couple of months now. Tracy Carlson’s What Great Brands Know: Unleash Your Right-Brain Genius to Stand Out and Make Customers Care was more than entertaining or enlightening. While reading this book I felt as though I were in a private class learning from the master. And, in fact, I was.
With more than 20 years of experience as a marketing strategist, Tracy Carlson has worked with a wide variety of businesses to build their brands. In her book, Carlson shares what she’s learned in a straight-forward fashion that makes you feel as though you’re having a conversation with her in your kitchen or living room. She takes the mystery out of branding success stories, providing case studies along with tactics that businesses of any size can implement TODAY.
As the title of her book implies, Carlson introduces the importance of including the right brain in branding strategy. Yes, the analytical left brain and its statistics are important in measuring the impact / success of a brand; but statistics alone aren’t enough to make us sing the praises of a brand. Carlson doesn’t intend to denigrate the importance of the left brain in the world of branding, nor does she imply that the right brain alone should rule. The magic happens when the right brain and left brain work together.
Left-brain challenges can be invaluable at certain times, and they can make us feel more secure, but they are rarely the gateway to magic.
Don’t despair if the thought of entering the touch-feely world of the right brain makes you break out in a cold sweat. Carlson lives up to the promise she makes at the book’s outset. She identifies six principles that brands know and use to make an impact. For each of these principles, Carlson provides:
- An overview of each principle.
- Three dimensions of each principle: what it is, what it isn’t, and why it’s important.
- Brand spotlights where she illustrates how each principle has been put into practice via case studies.
- Getting started – suggestions and ideas to take steps to implement each of the three dimensions associated with each principle.
The framework outlined in this book removes the anxiety of walking on the right side of the brain and encourages each of us to engage in holistic thinking. As Carlson notes:
We are not just bundles of data waiting to be charted, guys. We’re still people, with dreams and quirks and passions. We’re much more complex and interesting than you think. Only a few brands and companies really get this and meet us where we are.
Thanks to Carlson’s book, you can be one of those few brands and meet your customers where they are. You’ll be glad you did.