(Book Review) Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves
Reading this book is like having a power lunch with two of the smartest practitioners of our times: Alex Bogusky, Co-Chairman of Crispin Porter, and John Winsor, Crispin's Executive Director of Strategy and Innovation.
Reading this book is like having a power lunch with two of the smartest practitioners of our times: Alex Bogusky, Co-Chairman of Crispin Porter, and John Winsor, Crispin’s Executive Director of Strategy and Innovation.
It’s almost-pocket-size format and compressed 150 pages are a quick read in 3 parts. Starting with a short primer to preheat the reader’s mind, with the beef in the center (28 rules for baking in) and a brief rallying cry to take a more holistic approach to making the world a better place in the closing chapter.
Part 1 makes an excellent case for a new rule: create truly innovative products and build the marketing right into the products. It’s a call and a challenge to marketers to take all the customer insights and actually bake them right into a new product, and to elevate both design and marketing to a strategic level. Which, the authors say, will ultimately allow the product and marketing story to be connected and to sell itself. Considering that our industry is to blame for the problem that products too often tell one story and the marketing tells a different story, the authors are making a compelling pitch for the product to not be separated from the message, but that the product should rather be the message. With a rather logical conclusion that marketing needs to have a seat at the table with product, and the product needs to have a seat at the table with marketing.
We’ve all heard it before ‘innovate or die’, but today’s hyper connected society adds some urgency to this broadly accepted mantra since mediocrity is getting extinguished with increasing speed as it becomes more important what people say about your brand than what brand say. This book is a timely reminder that brands are built through great, innovative products at a time where fear and financial pressure gets marketers to settle too often too soon for incremental improvements vs. real innovation.
Part 2 is packed with a healthy disrespect for common beliefs and offers a refreshing random number of “28 new rules.” Each rule is supported by a real life brand example and each is coupled with a recipe that serves as a practical thought starter and pointer for readers on how to make the product itself the most powerful brand-building and business tool to grow revenues and profits. The rules range from rather self-explaining theories (like ‘culture trumps influencers’) to more odd ones (like ‘hug the hairy monster’) with interesting labels you’re likely to add to your business vocabulary (like ‘organizational IQ’). I.e. I didn’t quite realize that I’m a ‘silo jumper’ and a ‘heretic’, or at least nobody told me before that this is a good thing in business. The list also makes you feel good about stealing, trusting your intuition, having fun and being fearless (with the exception of when it comes to mediocrity).
Part 3 is a wholehearted pitch for effective innovations and for creativity to be the ultimate business weapon. And with not only the marketing model being broken, but arguably our entire social and political models as well, it’s a plea for a more holistic view to apply this ultimate weapon as our way to a sustainable future.
Baked In’s release date on Amazon is October 13. Expect it to have tons of highlights once you’ve sat down with your marker to read it. In the meantime, flip through the recipes and join the conversation on BakedIn.com or follow it on Twitter.
Contributed By Frank Striefler