Building a brand is not unlike building a house. Everything has to begin with a solid foundation. Without a strong bedrock, nothing built on top will last.
Mila Yoli, CEO and Founder of Presenceology, suggests that new entrepreneurs embarking on the journey of building a personal or professional brand can think of their branding foundation as their education on the subject. Sure, the things you build on top of your foundation are more creative and bring personality, values, DNA, and brand essence to the equation, but a strong branding education should support everything.
One of the best ways to begin this education is to sign up for a branding class, work one-on-one with a branding coach such as Yoli, and read all you can on the subject.
“I often get asked about great books for creative entrepreneurs. There are so many options out there — which are the best titles to start with? So, I came up with this list to streamline things next time you’re at the bookstore or adding something new to your cart online,” said Yoli.
The trained psychologist who shifted her focus to psychology-rooted branding in 2020 has helped dozens of founders craft engaging brand stories that resonate with audiences. The former therapist has a deep love for helping people and felt that, with her unique skills and education, she could add something to the branding space that was currently lacking.
“Branding has so much to do with people’s emotions, backgrounds, memories. And so does psychology. So, I thought, why has no one tried to merge the two arts and sciences together?” said Yoli.
Read on to learn more about Yoli’s top book choices for creative entrepreneurs.
Start with Why, by Simon Sinek
Yoli recommends this book because it drills down to the essential question asked in branding: why? To her, that truly is where the discipline starts. Calling Sinek both wise and accessible, she says that he was the first to point out that, while many brands know what they do and how they do it — many have no idea why. By finding this sometimes elusive answer, readers can get closer to building a brand that truly stands out.
Building a Storybrand, by Donald Miller
Considered a classic among branding experts, this book is one that people in the field turn to over and over, one that never seems to feel dated or trite.
“This book is a well-known and much-loved companion for many creative entrepreneurs I know. It’s an excellent foundation for beginning the process of finding your brand message and getting clear on how you can get clients’ attention through the right words,” she said.
The Hero and the Outlaw, by Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson
Considering herself obsessive about brand archetypes, this is Yoli’s top pick for easily breaking down this sometimes complicated subject into an applicable guide that can be used to locate patterns and find your own persona.
Working under the assumption that all brands take on one of a specific number of personas — from Transformational Magician to Passionate Lover and from Innovative Creator and beyond — she says that every brand embodies at least one, if not several, of these tried-and-tested personas.
Brand Brilliance, by Fiona Humberstone
You can consider this one a strategic guide for isolating and elevating your personal brand. Beautifully written, it includes easy-to-use communication tips, prospecting advice, media kit instructions, and marketing knowledge.
A fun read, this large volume works as a skimmable coffee table book-slash-guide that also makes an excellent gift for anyone in your life interested in branding.
Platform: The Art and Science of Personal Branding, by Cynthia Johnson
This book made this list thanks to its deep exploration of presence and influence and how they affect brand development and success.
Part guide and part memoir, readers learn by example as they follow along on the author’s professional journey to learn how she achieved tremendous success once she added branding skills to her wheelhouse.
With these books in hand, you’ll be well on your way to creating your own brilliant brand.
About Mila Yoli
Mila Yoli, CEO and Founder of Presenceology, has helped entrepreneurs reinvent themselves by utilizing her extensive psychology expertise. A former therapist, Yoli helps business leaders find their unique presence and offers that make them stand out as more than just another voice in the crowd with her signature program, “Stand Out Brand”. To learn more and discover the science behind Presenceology, visit www.presenceology.com