Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions or goals this time of year. One common ambition for many professionals is to read more. After all, the more you learn the more you earn. If you want to develop then you’ll want to read more.

A part of your regular reading routine should include blogs, magazines and newspapers. However, certain subjects require a deep dive analysis from time to time. And nothing is much more important at your organization than branding.

So what books on this key subject would I recommend you read in 2016? Here are five must read branding books:

  • What Great Brands Do—I put this book by Denise Yohn at the top of the list. In fact, I like it so much I’ve not only read it I’ve listened to it on Audible during my runs. The book offers seven proven principles to help make your brand a driving business success. One of the best aspects of it is the practical applications she offers at the end of each chapter. For my review What Great Brands Do check out this post.
  • Leading for Growth—While this is not a branding book per se, it contains tons of insights on the subject. This read is all about how Ray Davis led Umpqua Bank to incredible growth. Hint: one of the major strategies he implemented was an un-relentless focus on branding. One quote that still sticks with me is “you can’t have a strong brand and be lax about the details.”
  • Grow—This is becoming a new business book classic and you would miss quite a lot if you didn’t put it on your reading list. The subtitle sums it up perfectly: how ideals power growth and profit for the world’s greatest companies. Author Jim Stengel may use terms like culture and ideals but you’ll quickly see that many of the principles he analyzes in his exhaustive study of successful companies centers around branding. For my review of Grow, check out this post.
  • Onward—How can any list of top branding books not include something about Starbucks? In Onward, Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO) dives deeply into why his company is so successful with its brand. He is incredibly transparent: sharing not just successes but many of the mistakes he and Starbucks have made.
  • Difference—If you want to build a successful brand you have to make it different from the competition. But how? In Difference, author Bernadette Jiwa shows you how. She also gives an incredibly powerful tool as part of the book: the difference map. The difference model helps you focus on your principles, your purpose, your people and other key areas. For my review of Difference, check out this post.

Those are my top five. What about you? What other branding books would you add to this list?