Anyone on the cusp of building or evaluating an integrated digital branding campaign ought to first consult with Daniel Rowles's new, sexily titled, primer on the subject, "Digital Branding" (Kogan Page).
Ok, so maybe that isn't the sexiest book title I've ever run across. Perhaps that's because the book works better as a solid reference guide to digital strategy instead of being a zippy, feel-good piece of Dave Kerpen fluff. In this case the title downplays the book's importance; Rowles ties everything together for the CMO or marketing-savvy business owner who must once again confont their digital strategists. The book flies at 20,000 feet of altitude, which makes it occasionally useful for the hands-on marketer.
I followed my own advice and consulted the book prior to sending a social media marketing proposal off to a prospective client, and, sure enough, it helped me round out my document nicely and achieve extra clarity in my intent as a marketing strategist. For example, I always knew that a digital branding campaign should squarely address an organization's objectives, but Rowles has a very neat way of explaining how digital branding acts like a bridge that connects those objectives to what your prospective audiences and customers are actually motivated to do. Rowles achieves this by getting you to think again about the "user journey". If you read this book, perhaps you will be inspired to write a more clever introduction to your next proposal.
Running at slightly over 200 pages, Rowles provides just enough depth to make sure your digital strategy makes sense, and it will cover the following niche areas:
- Social Media
- Online Ads
- Email marketing
- CRM and Marketing Automation
Yes, there are also case studies, and they can easily be skipped and read at a later time. Like most case studies, I was left yearning to know more about the back stories, and specific tribulations that each marketer experiences along the way. As is usual for this literary convention, we see cases where digital strategist tries X, and then Y happens. Usually it happens to be a stupendously successful story. For selfish, therapeutic reasons, it would be great to eventually read a case where strategy gets occasionally bogged down in the wilderness of everyday digital branding work.
It is also manifest from reading the book that Daniel Rowles, a business lecturer at Imperial College, approaches digital strategy with an academic rigo(u)r, all the while kindly bothering to lay out the primary purpose of digital branding in clear, accessible English.
And because of that I like him.