How To Create A Brand – Accidental Branding Book Review

Ian Lurie

I haven’t read a marketing book in a while. After wading through the stack of titles on my nightstand I’d gone on a literary vacation, rereading old Foxtrot anthologies instead.
But branding has always been a puzzle for me. How do you turn a concept into a story into a brand? That people actually care about?
So when I got David Vinjamuri’s book – Accidental Branding – in the mail, I dove in.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s an engrossing read, following the stories of seven well-known companies and their leaders. Vinjamuri met and interviewed each of them, so the entire book has a personal narrative touch for which I’m really a sucker.
My favorite parts: David’s story of firing a shotgun under John Peterman’s tutelage; Roxanne Quimby’s story of Burt’s Bees; and The Art of Shaving. I’ve always enjoyed this storytelling style.
I do have two complaints:
First, I’m not sure I agree that these brands really are ‘accidental’ when compared to others. Vinjamuri points out that an accidental brand is created by someone who isn’t a marketer by training. But how many marketers really are marketers by training? I’m an ex-lawyer. Ogilvy was an ex-chef’s assistant. It’s a tough distinction to make.
Second, I’d like a little analysis at the end of each interview. There are bits and pieces woven into the book here and there. But marketing books are by definition reference volumes. I’ll refer back to it, and it’d be nice to get information in digestible chunks. I’m being lazy, I know.
Overall though this is a great piece of work. It’s an enjoyable read that tells great stories, and you can learn a lot in the process. Pick it up:

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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