James just finished a new book by Chris Malone (an alum P&G, ARAMARK, and the NBA) and Susan Fiske (Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton) called The Human Brand.
As with most books on marketing and branding, this one probably could be condensed to about 35 pages. But it would be a very good 35 pages. The authors' premise is that a brand (like a person) is judged along two dimensions: Competence and Warmth.
Low competence/Low warmth = a brand that people are disgusted with
Low competence/High warmth = a brand that people pity
High competence/Low warmth = a brand that people respect but are not loyal to
High competence/High warmth = The Holy Grail
The book contains a number of case studies that support their brilliantly simple hypotheses – J&J, Lululemon, Chobani, Sprint, and Domino’s to name a few.
It’s a very easy read, and definitely worth the time.