Book Club #7: ZAG, by Marty Neumeier

zig zagMarty Neumeier’s short slide-presentation book, ZAG, at 192 pages, is one of the shortest books we’ve covered in our Book Club series. Don’t let the smaller size fool you, however.

Neumeier covers a plethora of information about being the best brand possible. We’ve picked a few key ideas from ZAG to share in this article.

What do you mean, ZAG?

When everyone is zigging, zag,” Neumeier repeats over and over in the book.

If you aren’t #1 or #2 in your category, you need to find a way to stand out…to zag. You can discover your zag by taking the time for a brand audit.

17-Point Brand Audit

Marty goes through a comprehensive brand audit, which every business should engage in, across 17 categories. We encourage you to read the book and go through the audit for your company, but this article highlights five categories in particular.

#2 Purpose – State your company’s purpose in 12 words or fewer. People are used to sprawling mission statements and visions, but 12 words really helps you to focus.

#4 What wave are you riding? – Your company is sitting on some trend – is it a growing trend, one at its peak, or one at the end? What do you need to do in order to switch waves or lengthen your ride on the wave you are on?

#6 The only ____ that _____.  This is one of the most important points in the book and ties directly into Blue Ocean Strategy. An example Neumeier gives is for Harley Davidson: The only motorcycle manufacturer that makes big, loud motorcycles, for macho guys (and wannabees), mostly in the United States, who want to join a gang of cowboys, in an era of decreasing personal freedom.

What’s powerful about that example is that Neumeier has managed to hit the how, who, where, why, and when within the “only ____ that ____” construct. If you take the time to do that for your company, you will gain powerful insights as well.

#8 Find brand loyalists. Who are your evangelists? Who are your biggest fans? Find out how you can serve them and involve them in what you do.

#14 Map the Customer Experience. Start from complete unawareness and end with the experience after they’ve used your product or service. Use this map to find out areas of weakness and strength all along your processes.

Why Your Brand Matters

Whether you’re looking to sell your company or buy a company, ultimately it’s the brand that matters. Why? Because it’s not dependent upon any one person or employee. Brand transcends individuals and is built to last…and that’s priceless.