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Zag: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,642 ratings  ·  139 reviews
"When everybody zigs, zag," says Marty Neumeier in this fresh view of brand strategy. ZAG follows the ultra-clear "whiteboard overview" style of the author's first book, THE BRAND GAP, but drills deeper into the question of how brands can harness the power of differentiation. The author argues that in an extremely cluttered marketplace, traditional differentiation is no lo ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by New Riders Publishing
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Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Marketing professionals, Students, Small business owners, Venture capitalists
Recommended to Brittany by: Myself & Marty Neumeier
How I Came To Read This Book: This is the sequel to Marty Neumeier's first book - 'The Brand Gap' that I picked up at the same time as TBG.

The Plot: In The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier covers five key areas to better branding - one of which his differentiation. Zag focuses on differentiation, or finding your 'zag', the way you differ yourself from everyone else in the market, therefore owning (or at least coming in second) within your market. If you're not #1 or #2, Neumeier advises you to find a w
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Brand" is the gut feeling people have about your product or company.
When People buy they ask themselves "what does this make me".
Do not fight marketing clutter with more marketing clutter.
Hit them where they aren't

A name should be different from its competitors, brief, 4 syllables or less, appropriate but not so descriptive that it sound generic, easy to spell, satisfying to pronounce, suitable for brand play, legally defensible.
Hope Harris-Gayles
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
To my Goodreads friends this isn't a glitch in the system--I really just finished reading this book! Granted it was about 156 pages with large type and some pictures, but it's a book, I finished it, and it counts. Zag is Marty Neumeier's follow up to The Brand Gap, though they don't have to be read in sequence (as I'm hoping to start TBG next week). I found the book easy to understand, and full of nuggets of wisdom and advice. As I'm leading a team at work to rebrand the organization this was ti ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Zag was great, short and sweet. I wish it went into a little more detail. Lots to think about though and I liked how it dove into how culture plays a part in branding and branding shifts.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy to read, a perfect introduction to branding and uniquely shaping your business. Doesn't stay too much on the same topic and even has a visual scheme of the 17 steps toward creating a good brand at the end of the book.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
The 17 step-process scanned and attached. Mercy for a wine example, it helped to understand more
Vitalii Oriabka
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-shelf
This short presentation-book (how it called by author) guides you into branding strategy, also brings you a basic understanding how innovation and "think different"(by apple inc.) principle can moving you forward through the redundancy on the market and helps you to create a great business with strong branding vision. Through the book, you'll see how to create a brand on the example of wine company through the 18 principles of making "Zag". This book is the great introduction into business for e ...more
Chad Warner
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: marketers, entrepreneurs, business owners
A concise book of practical branding and marketing advice. It tells how to build your brand by being different and finding a trend. Those will allow you to appeal to the "tribe" that is naturally drawn to your offerings. I like that book follows a fictional wine bar as it seeks to define its brand. This made it easier to understand the concepts.

As with The Brand Gap, I wish the book had gone deeper on the topics.

I read this because I'm revisiting the branding of my web agency, OptimWise. I googl
Shannon Clark
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
A book that has been in my stack of "to read" for quite a while and which I finally finished the week after I took a job as the Director of Marketing (and sales and growth) for a startup. So suddenly even more relevant and useful as a starting point for my own thinking about our brand and product and marketing strategy.

The book is a good example of a print book that leverages print and design to make points - this would be a very different read in a digital form. Elements of the book seem sligh
Taylor Snyder
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: advertising
One of the most refreshing brand/ad books I have read. Right away the author tells you he wrote this book to have a lot of content concentrated down into a quick read and he delivered. The book was really written for creatives that want to understand more about the strategy of branding and positioning. It is told through the example of a wine company and uses simple analogies and staccato illustrations to pull the entire read off with aplomb. But more importantly, due to the way it was construct ...more
Bart Van Loon
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
You cannot rate a business book the same way as a work of fiction. Yet, I think 4 stars are appropriate for this book. It's different, more to the point and more engaging to read than other business books, even other marketing books.

You'll finish it in only a few hours and definitely get something useful out of it if you're a business owner or working in a brand marketing department.
Kyle McManamy
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an entertaining overview of marketplace differentiation via company identity. It is a quick read by design and is filled with great examples. I plan to go back through it to take notes. I recommend it for those involved with brand identity of a church, company, or organization.
Quick, condensed read - nothing too new or radical to speak of.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: career
A must read for Brand Strategy. Taking off a star because of some repetitious concepts and being too short.
Atman Pandya
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: marketers, mba-students
This is an amazing book and I wish these principles were taught to us during our MBA.

The book primarily serves to help in launching a new brand and the 17 point checklist is a fantastic way to cover all the main aspects of what you want to create in the market. With the example if a fictional wine bar the author takes us through the entire checklist so that we can look at how this process works.

Marty does a great job of explaining the problems plaguing current business and he also explains basic
Finn Yutthana
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am actually not a big fan of reading Advertising & marketing books.. Until i have to. coz they re always too much words for little info. Zag is short and sweet. I have been trying to do branding for my business quite sometimes now; appx 3 years. still not getting there. i think Zag really gave me just right amount of info and a clearer direction. i have so many solutions for my business branding from this book. to me this book is a really good stuff. eg. how big the target audiance i shall con ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marty Neumeier delivers another deceptively short and straightforward treatise on branding in his sequel to The Brand Gap. But the imminently readable Zag tells the hard truths about the commitments that must be made to sustain a brand in the fastest moving marketplace of all time. Neumeier’s practical and process-oriented approach makes a great roadmap for marketers who want to start finding (and executing) against a position that’s more than marketing-speak and can deliver on real business out ...more
Andrew Chwalik
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: branding
Great book on teaching companies how to develop a brand and execute on a new brand if they already exist in the marketplace. Excruciatingly helpful for new companies looking to make an impact and stay open longer than three years. Branding is essential to companies of every size. Do it right at the start to be successful. If you're a large brand, this book will shed a little light on your path but won't revolutionize your strategy. The main message, innovate at the speed of light.
Vishwanil Hirpara
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When your competitor's Zing, you Zag! (Differentiate)
A Short, Crisp and to the point (17 points) book, mainly on Brand/product differentiation.
It will take your few hours for reading and another few hours for answering all the questions asked in the book. (Suggestion : Pick it on Sunday Morning)
Take print out of 17 point diagram so it will be easy for a quick revision after few months/years.
Happy Reading!
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
The author starts off by complaining that many people write books which should've been a blog post -- and hence, this 'whiteboard overview' book. Except, he also took what should've been a blog post and wrote a book instead. His book offers an alluring premise: Zag when everyone Zigs; but he fails to tell you how beyond basic hand-waving and high-level fluff. To be fair, this book is 14 years old, and perhaps it was more mind-blowing at that time. I give it 2 stars.
Arash Narchi
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: branding, 2018, marketing
If you don’t read many marketing/branding books you will appreciate how light and condensed this book is while offering tons of applicable value.

If you read many marketing/branding books, you will appreciate how much useless jargon the author avoids in an effort to appreciate your time and attention.
Thinh Nguyen
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Easy to understand and should provide clarity for people who want to started working with brand strategy, marketing or brand marketing. A bit over exaggeration and over simplification at times but it is understandable with this kind of books
Sanita Kacuba
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A practical, uncomplicated guide of brand building and maintaining. Covers everything you may need without fancy shmancy theories and models. Therefore this is not a indepth book on branding, if you are looking for one but will get you going with strong basics.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book about marketing & branding, concise & short. More introductory level I would say since I believe experience marketing & branding specialists doubly find plenty of new information. I'm no specialized in the field, so I find it pretty informative and exciting to read. ...more
Stephen Heiner
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
I read this years ago and recently had a chance to revisit it for an article. Enjoy: ...more
Tobias Tuleby
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A 2 hour read packed with info. The 17 step checklist is great!
Hideous typography, very US-centered and a bit outdated (e.g. refers to Netflix as DVD by mail, which it was up until 2007)
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Very considerate of the author to write something that could be read in one sitting with at least a dozen useful takeaways.
Mary Kelly
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mainly fluff, and quotes from better authors. Not a great book.
Maria Shutak
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simple tutorial which helps to find your UVP.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nothing brand new, but well systemized and succinctly reminds about essential branding principles.
The first chapter is much better. The second one impressed less but still good
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