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Book Review: Bold Brand, New Rules for Branding and Marketing Your Professional Services Firm

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What do architecture, engineering, accounting, legal and other professional services firms have in common? Most of them are "horrible marketers," says management guru Mark Zweig in the foreword to "Bold Brand," a new book that serves as a tool kit for firms looking to make a statement and build up their bank of business.

Professionals such as architects and engineers working in business-to-business companies tend to think of their services differently than pros working in the business-to-consumer world, which is intensely competitive and places a higher value on brand recognition. "Bold Brand"—the 265-page book ($24.99 paperback, $9.99 electronic) by Josh Miles, an Indianapolis-based design consultant—debunks the argument that B2B firms should go to market differently than B2Cs.

The consumerization of business, driven in part by the growth of the internet, mobile computing and social media, has changed the game, says Miles. He lays out the principles of successful brand marketing campaigns, peppering the discussion with such well-known examples as Pepsi, Apple and Nike.

Thankfully, Miles doesn't spend a lot of time talking about these companies, as they are likely familiar to readers. Instead, he dives into how B2B firms can successfully apply their same techniques.

The fast-moving, conversational format is ideal for readers on the go. "Bold Brand" explains how to perform a brand audit and identify the principles that make up a clear strategy. Brands fundamentally solve problems, says Miles. "It may be an internal issue, such as poor morale, management or lack of systems," he observes. "It may be an external issue, such as an outdated appearance."

Much of the book also serves as a handbook for content marketing tactics, or using websites and social media to lure clients. Although he touches on print, Miles pays far more attention to the electronic side, recognizing that this area is where firms need more help.

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