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June 17, 2008

News & Opinion: Fall book preview - Relevance by Tim Manners

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:12 PM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales

A crop of books about brand marketing has sprung up this past publishing season. We're starting to receive galleys of the fall books. This one just came across my desk and caught my eye: Relevance: Making Stuff That Matters by Tim Manners. It was the marketing copy on the back cover that drew me in. "Branding expert Tim Manners says that marketers should give up the flashy practices and groupthink of the last fifty years--the demographics-driven strategies, fashion-obsessed things, and old-fashioned advertising. Today's customers don't care about those things. All they want to know is, "Why should I care? What's in it for me?"
This is a book we'll be keeping our eye on when it pubs in September. Here's a snippet from the working introduction:
An epidemic of irrelevance has brought once-powerful brands to their knees. The virus is an inordinate fixation on demographics-driven strategies, fashion-forward images, and media-focused communications.
The autopsy points to a lack of organic growth.
The cure is a reaffirmation of the essence of marketing, which is simply to help people solve problems and live happier lives. Interestingly, at least a few brands have managed to make comebacks after years in the wilderness.
  • Levi's reasserted relevance when it created wardrobe solutions for men.

  • Hasbro reasserted relevance when it reinvented board games for today's time-pressed consumers.

  • Staples reasserted relevance when it stopped wasting its shoppers' time with extraneous products.

Manners goes on to describe a number of precepts that have shaped marketing practices for the past half century, and then offers a solution: six principles relevant brands understand and embrace.
Side note: Did you know that you can sign up for RSS updates on the books you're interested in? You can receive notices when we post an excerpt, blog post, interview with the author, or other news about a particular book. Relevance comes out September 18, but you can pre-order it from us or sign up for notifications from our blogs.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.