While many of you may have read Marty Neumeier’s The Brand Gap, or his new effort, Zag, this little gem seems to have flown under the radar. The Dictionary of Brand was published by the AIGA Center for Brand Experience back in 2004. At the time, I was a member of the local AIGA board in Philadelphia, and we were selling these at all of our events before it was actually available to the public. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it much since. Not in bookstores or on planner’s desks or in client’s offices.
It’s a great little reference book, providing baseline definitions for some of the terms and phrase we use somewhat haphazardly. Case in point: viral marketing. Here’s the Dictionary of Brand’s take…
viral marketing: a technique by which social networks are used to spread ideas or messages through the use of affiliate programs, co-branding, e-mails, and link exchanges on-line, or off-line, through the use of word-of-mouth advertising and memes.
There are two great things about this definition. First, it acknowledges that viral marketing can occur on-line or off-line. It is a pattern, a process, not media. It is about the way information moves from person to person. There is no such thing as “a viral”.
Secondly, it refers to memes, an essential theoretical concept behind viral marketing that so often goes unmentioned. (The Tipping Point, is essentially a story about memes, though I don’t think Gladwell actually uses the phrase. I’d get thrown out of shcool for that.)
It’s a great little book. Pick one up.