12 books every public relations and marketing person should read
As a public relations and marketing communications professional, it’s mission-critical that you strive to stay ahead of your competitors as well as your clients. Reading has proven one of the most effective ways of staying sharp and staying ahead.
Below, the think-tank team of PRnomics share their favorite books on business and persuasion that all public relations and marketing communications professionals should add to their reading list right away.
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
This book discusses the concept of a “tipping point,” or the moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold and spreads rapidly. It explores the factors that contribute to the tipping point and how to create one for a product or idea.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
This book discusses the psychological principles of persuasion and how they can be used ethically in public relations, marketing and advertising. It covers concepts such as reciprocity, scarcity, authority, and consistency.
Public relations is about credible persuasion. This is what sets PR apart from spin and propaganda.
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
It proposes a new approach to strategy that involves creating a new market space, or a “blue ocean,” rather than competing in an existing market, or a “red ocean.” The authors argue that companies should aim to create a blue ocean by identifying untapped market opportunities and creating unique value for customers.
Public relations and marketing professionals can learn some valuable lessons and apply the principles in creating “whao” services for client rather than me-too offerings.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath
This book explores the factors that make an idea memorable and compelling. It discusses the importance of simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, and emotions in creating ideas that stick.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
This book explores the factors that contribute to the spread of ideas and products. It covers concepts such as social influence, word of mouth, and the role of emotions in driving the success of an idea or product.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Al Ries discusses the concept of positioning, or the process of creating a unique and differentiated image for a product or service in the mind of the consumer. It explores the importance of effective positioning in marketing and advertising.
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
Similar to Blue Ocean Strategy, this book discusses the importance of standing out in a crowded market and the need to be remarkable in order to succeed. It covers concepts such as the importance of word-of-mouth marketing and the need to be innovative.
The Advertising Concept Book: A Complete Guide to Creative Ideas, Strategies and Campaigns” by Pete Barry
This book provides a comprehensive overview of the creative process in advertising, from developing an idea to creating a campaign. It covers topics such as strategy, planning, and execution.
Storytelling for Marketing: How to Use Stories to Create Engaging Content by Gary Armstrong and Elizabeth J. Jensen
This book discusses the importance of storytelling in marketing and public relations, and how to use stories to create engaging content. It covers topics such as crafting a compelling narrative, using storytelling in different marketing channels, and measuring the effectiveness of storytelling campaigns.
10. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
The intelligent writer examines the systems of thought that shape our decision-making process: “fast thinking,” which is intuitive and automatic, and “slow thinking,” which is more reflective and deliberative. It explores the biases and heuristics that influence our thinking and decision-making, and the implications for marketing and advertising.
11. Good to Great by Jim Collins
It discusses the characteristics that set successful companies apart from average ones. The book is based on a research study in which Collins and his team identified 11 companies that made the transition from being good companies to being great ones and compared them to a control group of companies that did not make this transition.
The book identifies several key characteristics that set the “great” companies apart, including having a clear, simple and well-defined purpose, putting the right people in the right roles, and creating a culture of discipline. It also emphasizes the importance of being willing to make tough choices and take bold action, even in the face of uncertainty.
The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin
Though largely centered on marketing, it is applicable to all areas of public relations and business. The premise is about breaking the narrow confines of safe thinking, and instead take bold action and slowly break the chains restraining big ideas.
Where’s the public relations connection?
You might be wondering why we chose these books on business and persuasion rather than conventional marketing and public relations textbooks.
The reason is simple: public relations service providers are competing not only with other PR agencies, but with other great thinkers. To stand out in the new age, PR and marketing professionals must go beyond the predictable paths charted since the professions began.