This book claims to provide "an introduction to the basic principles for thinking clearly about pricing," and succeeds on that score. As such, it provThis book claims to provide "an introduction to the basic principles for thinking clearly about pricing," and succeeds on that score. As such, it provides more of a theoretical underpinning for understanding pricing strategies, particularly under competition, than it does a practical guide to setting prices directly, for which a great many other books of widely varying value exist. This is rather more academic, geared toward the MBA and the microeconomist rather than the typical homebrew entrepreneur, yet therefore it will give such small-businesspersons a key edge, especially those who have the math to follow and apply the game-theoretic concerns—or so I presume, not quite having the math myself. I found that this greatly increased my understanding and ability to evaluate the worth of more how-to pricing guides, as it allowed me to recognize the (in)applicability of suggested strategies and improved my comprehension of the rationalle behind counterintuitive techniques. Other books, such as Setting Profitable Prices, when they explain their methods at all, tend to do so from a perspective of expertise, experience, or simple "common sense"—as if anyone would need to buy a book about it if it was common sense—rather than the more rigorous approach used herein, which is nevertheless supported with real-world examples in addition to simplified word-problem style thought experiments, and leavened with more than a little nerd humor. Extremely useful; recommended to anyone who want to understand why they're setting this price instead of merely knowing what price to set....more
This book makes a lot of good points, and it's pretty clear to me that the overall process and exercises described are a much better approach to brandThis book makes a lot of good points, and it's pretty clear to me that the overall process and exercises described are a much better approach to branding than pretty much anything I've ever seen or heard of before.
That said, I have to take some major points off because it also seems oddly opinionated in ways unsupported by data, and gets some things just plain wrong. For example, several of the listed "7 Deadly Sins" of naming have prominent counterexamples of brands that have done stunningly well while violating them, which rather implies that they're not quite so much deadly as not to the author's taste. And witness this gaffe:
"It's confusing and shortsighted to name your product and company the same thing. Although you may have only one product now, think about the future. What if Apple had named their first computer the Apple? What would they name the dozens of other products that have launched since then?" Apple's first product was the Apple Computer, followed by the Apple II, II Plus, and Apple III, before they introduced Lisa, Macintosh, etc. The whole iThing which the author admires so much didn't begin until Apple had been in business for over 20 years.
In the section "Punctuation is a crutch," I expected solid advice about, for example, the unnecessary exclamation mark in Yahoo! Instead, "if your name needs the visual crutch of punctuation (güd)...." Note to the author, copy editor Tanya Grove, and proofreader Nancy Evans: punctuation is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "The marks, such as period, comma, and parentheses, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning." The diaeresis in ü is a diacritical mark, not a punctuation mark. Also, domain names are not "also known as URLs." The domain name forms the (arguably) most essential part of a URL, but is not, in itself, a URL. One minute of fact checking on each of these would have made it look more like you actually know what you're talking about.
The one that really got me hot though was this: "As with book titles, song titles (as well as album titles and band names) can't be trademarked and are up for grabs when it comes to brand names." (my emphasis) No. Nonononononono. This person claims to be a branding professional? Has lawyers on staff? This is just. Plain. Wrong. I mean, aside from the bad will likely to be generated by stealing a band name for your own product line, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office makes it pretty clear and simple: "You can register a trademark for a band name." And there are lawsuits about just that all the time.
So yes, if you have a branding project, by all means, check out this book. Then, consult your lawyer (which admittedly the book repeatedly advises)....more