Brands and Bullshit - A book review

Digital Marketing Strategies

The author begins with a tongue in cheek outlook on marketing tactics in our current era and explains Branding.

Asking “Are you Marketing Banner Ads, or building brands”. And continues with a mocking tone, “Do you even know what a Brand Decision Tree or a category ladder is”?

After that, Schroeder Explains that the blame doesn’t fall on the marketer’s shoulders, especially if the reader grew up inside of a digital marketing environment with no brand mentor.

Why Read This Book on Branding?

This publication is aimed at providing knowledge and understanding about what branding is.

To sum it up, The book explains how Branding contributes to the success of any company operating in a digital marketing world.

This work touches on how to generate customer feeling and create specific brand strategies that work in the ever changing market place. 

Creating a Brand

Customer Perception

How you say things and convey details directly connects to the feelings that people get from an advertisement.

Above all, It is crucial to their perceptions of the products they buy.

With the rise of the internet, digital agencies crept into place and now online marketing is a critical core element to marketing strategy and branding.

In other words, Digital Marketing agencies have grown so quickly that they didn’t have time to undergo Branding Strategy training.

“Marketing without expertise is…well…Bullsh**t”,

Bernhard Schroeder

Schroeder exclaims as he talks about moving upstream to working with larger companies.

Tactics and Techniques

Larger companies are often expecting you to know and understand these Branding Techniques and Strategies.

Tactical Product Marketing, does not result in Customer perceived value. Therefore, they ditch the company as soon as something newer or cheaper comes around.

“Companies who create a customer feeling that is uniquely positive will thrive and continue to be industry leaders”

After this, he continues,

“Companies that continue to create great products but not build great brands will face competition over time, and ultimately struggle in the marketplace”.

Bernhard Schroeder

Lastly, Bernard stresses the importance of a long term marketing goal and creation of true branding values.

Always keep learning.

Never assume you know your potential customer.

Notably, This way you will always be looking for new data, trends, sticking to facts, surrounding yourself with people who also know about these customer types, and relentlessly be focusing on the customer environment.

Then, Try to learn more about the potential customer, study every type of demographic about them and observe how they think, feel, and act without making assumptions. To be a good digital marketer, you must see but also observe, analyze, and understand.

Next, Search for a customer’s truth, and create a message that the customer will feel when they use your product or service.

It appears that, The customer’s feelings towards your brand matters, so you must learn what messages resonate with them and create an emotional connection.

Connecting to your customer.

Appealing to your customer’s lifetime value basis, with an emotional connection, creates genuine recommendations and pride in using your brand.

Now, Aim for the customer’s hearts, not their wallets to get them to actively stick with you rather than feel they are stuck with you.

Brand Loyalty.

To Start, Build brand loyalty to create valuable sustainable customer relationships with impact.

Secondly, Features of your brand that tend to your customers needs and create an unforgettable experience and resonate with their preferences give them reasons to love your company.

People forge close emotional ties that generate purchase decisions. So, Sometimes they ignore cost over convenience.

Instead, Give long term customer relationships over short term sales.

Create an Identity

“A firm commitment to brand identity.”

Bernhard Schroeder

Here, The author exemplifies the importance of reinforcing the goals and values of your brand to generate a continued revenue stream from existing customers.

Today, Customers rationalize brands.

Please note, Satisfying the customers needs is the smallest factor in a purchase, but a specific attribute that satisfies a customer experience and also causes delight, will bring about higher results of creating a brand advocate, for instance.

“Branding goes Deeper than Marketing”, writes Schroeder. Marketing is advertising your products to potential customers, whereas a brand differs in it’s process.

“brand is comprised of your Voice, your Image, and your Message. Branding is the process of establishing these traits.”

Bernhard Schroeder

Creating the Framework for your Brand.

The author believes that you set guidelines and get the ball rolling, however the customers and their perception of your brand and it’s values are the ultimate judge of it’s image and meaning.

Customers have unique and customized experiences so there is no exact formula for success to follow, it seems.

Most digital marketers rely on intuition to convey brand values. Your brand isn’t your logo, color scheme, your name, or your website.

So, the brand is what humans say it is.

“Brands are defined as individuals, and when enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling, we have a brand”. 

Bernhard Schroeder

Building a Brand Requires Finesse

Product marketing is easy, while building a brand is hard. People have too many choices and too little time.

With the internet at their fingertips, the possibilities can be overwhelming to make a choice in a marketplace, but a powerful brand will stand out in a customers mind.

More Often than not, People buy based on trust and this is facilitated with the experiences related to your brand.

Generating the internal thought that your company has no equal or replacement creates value in your brand.

Alas, as consumer options increase, the necessity of brand identity becomes strategic and also increases. 

Our Ever Changing Market

Social media is driving the next stage of social branding.

In today’s market, the consumer no longer wants to purchase but they desire to participate.

Creating an identity that is able to generate user interaction and inspire a positive emotional connection is proportionately connected to a brands success.

In the digital marketplace where companies “rely on their users to help establish value and influence how they are received by the public.” The loyalty from an actively participating audience is unparalleled. 

Challenges of Branding & Overcoming them

The challenge of branding today is that, now it is very easy for anyone to create a logo online, using internet based web tools, and also enlist designers from all over the world to create this for as little as $5.

So, Someone can slap that logo on a website and launch it.

Questions Brands Need To Answer:

However, what does this mean for the brand, and how does this help the brand identify what it stands for in the marketplace?

How does this product differentiate itself and how are it’s values reflected in the brand?

What does the company want the customer to feel?

As a result, One must do their research and truly understand the marketplace and trends.

Then, understand the competition, and understand the potential customers.

“Customers are not always right, but they are never wrong”,

Bernhard Schroeder

Schroeder jabs as he explains the differences in merely existing as a company and connecting with your audience.

How to Succeed as a Digital Marketer

Brands who never stop responding to their customers needs establish trust and differentiate themselves from their competitors. They do this by focusing on delighting their customers with service.

Create a Concierge Mentality

A concierge mentality is an important part to establishing the satisfaction aspect of your customers experience. Companies have to create goals and Key Performance Indicators, research the market, and be able to scale to the growth of the market.

But, Digital marketers tend to create programs that have no use but collect customer data without offering rewards or value to the customer.

“Make sure all initiatives drive value and support trust. Poorly planned and unsupported initiatives may drive customers to the competition as they detract from the ability to truly engage and convert customers and actually hurt the brand”.

Bernhard Schroeder

Schroeder enlightens the reader that vain or ill performing marketing initiatives often create a negative impact on the brand image as a whole.

“Brands produce content for the sake of having content, rather than offer relevant messaging that speaks to the customer’s specific interests”.

Engaging with your Customer

Marketers believe they must provide a constant stream of content otherwise it will reduce interest and engagement when in reality, this can hurt the brand.

It’s important to focus on posting engaging content that focuses it’s goal on quality over quantity.

“Engaging material has the power to strengthen customer advocacy, while mediocre content will likely have the opposite effect”.

The power of digital can drown marketers in an unimaginable sea of data, and not every touchpoint or metric truly affects the bottom line.

Customer Focused Data Utilization

It’s important to focus on what drives the customer experience. Integration of customer information in goal of improving the customer experience and influencing actionable decisions is what creates digital efficiency.

Implementing the latest digital solution is not as important as putting the customer first, and building on customer insight to cultivate the customer experience and deliver a perfectly tailored message to the consumer.

Investing in the necessary resources is crucial.

Therefore, Create teams that carry out strategic development under specific skill sets in your marketing initiatives with clear campaign goals.

Set Specific Goals

“Marketers must establish a clear set of strategic goals, and develop a plan with launch milestones and success measurements to ensure all levels of the company are in the loop regarding progress”.

Schroeder continues to deliver a wealth of knowledge on unified marketing strategies that benefit organizations.

So, It’s important to understand the difference between launching a product or service, taking market share, or disrupting a marketplace.

Timing of entering the marketplace also is contributing to brand building strategy.

Recap and Final Takeaways

This digital marketing book is truly a no holds barred insight to advertising in our current age. The author is bold in unveiling the ugly truths and unleashing the full truths about market behavior and interaction with competitors.

About the Author:

Bernhard Schroeder is the Director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Programs at San Diego State University.

He works with 100’s of start-up businesses in California, advises several successful start-ups, is a current influencer and knowledge source for digital marketing media nationally and speaks at TEDx.

His first publication about entrepreneurship, Fail Fast or Win Big, released in February 2015.

Simply Brilliant, his next publication focusing on creativity, was released in October of 2016. 

Brands and Bulls**t, his book about branding in the digital age, was released in October of 2017.

He has worked with Apple, Pixar, Visa, Levi’s and United Airlines, Amazon, Yahoo!, Travelocity, American Express, Mazda and more.

Today, he mentors business in multiple states.

You Can Purchase a copy of this publication here:

We write digital marketing reviews with the goal of enlightening, inspiring, and educating other business professionals, entrepreneurs, and lifelong learners to further their expertise in Digital Marketing.

For any questions please call 850-888-0888 or send an email inquiry to

If you enjoy this book, you might like Joe Manausa’s new publication: “The Business of Getting Business”, which can be purchased here: The Business Of Getting Business or Digital Marketing Book.

Read about the Author here: Joe Manausa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.