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Follow the Feeling: Brand Building in a Noisy World





Follow the Feeling: Brand Building in a Noisy World

Kai D. Wright

ISBN: 978-1-119-60049-7 July 2019 304 Pages


Elevate your brand, rise above the crowd, and build tribe

In Follow the Feeling, strategy advisor Kai D. Wright answers a critical question plaguing entrepreneurs, brand strategists, marketers, and leaders: how do you grow your brand in a noisy world? Analyzing 1,500 fast-growing companies from Alibaba to Zara, the Columbia University lecturer and Ogilvy global consulting partner unpacks five branding secrets. Starting with behavioral economic principles and ending with a new systems-based approach to brand building, Wright offers readers one metric that trumps the hundreds entangling brand value, feelings.

Follow the Feeling will show you how to best build and position your brand so you can stand out from competitors, build a tribe, and engineer a positive feeling across five important branding territories—lexicon, audio cues, visual stimuli, experience, and culture. Sharing real-world lessons and practical advice he has gained helping everyone from Sean Diddy Combs and Meghan Trainor to Bank of America and HP develop and implement shareable, culturally-infectious branding strategies. Through storytelling, global research, and practical tips, this valuable book will help you and your organization:

  • Efficiently create and deploy a comprehensive brand strategy across the organization
  • Quickly launch new brands or reboot existing brands for growth
  • Build tribes from audiences, consumers, clients, and partners
  • Lean into the convergence of communication, culture, digital, and technology

Regardless of industry or sector, branding is essential for companies, non-profits, and even individuals. Follow the Feeling: Brand Building in a Noisy World is a must-have resource for anyone from C-Suite executives to aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to unleash the full potential of their brand. And in this world of ever-increasing metrics paired with waning attentiveness, the most important signal of brand health is how you, through your brand, make people feel.




Forming a worldview

A case for change

Feelings aren’t things to gloss over

1 – Inside Out: What’s the value of being an outsider?

An industry red hot

A few things to keep in mind

2 – Going Haywire: What’s the relationship between economics and communication?

“Most of the time we coast.”

The virality coefficient

3 – Resonance vs. Share of Voice: What direction is technology propelling us?

Resonance: a lesson in audience physics

Resonance: the economy of community

Are we speaking on the same wavelength?

With true resonance comes easier influence

Avoiding dissonance begins in the briefing

4 – Creativity Applied Strategically: What parts of “brand” matter most today to influence a digitally wired audience?

The cracks in the axioms

Emotional horsepower drives many a decision

Influence rules the day, but we can rule influence

Surviving brand quicksand

A system built for a brand “value”

Every hero needs a villain

5 – Communication as a System: How does communication work in society?

Communication is a “system”

Wired to Think, Feel, and Do

Finding the right triggers and traps

A fight for equality

6 – Lexicon Triggers: Branding Objective: Appeal to a “tribe”

Limits of words


The invisible hand: community

Shifting from Target audience to Community

A tale of two words

Niche wins

Branding language

A planning process mindset shift

The double edge sword of being a “household name”

Anchors & Normative Messaging

Cutting anchors lose


7 – Audio Cues: Branding Objective: Develop instant recognition

Every Brand Longs to be Heard

Audio’s Role: Hardly New, But Certainly Evolving

Sound as a mood shifter

Is audio the most salient part of “memory”?

Our firewall works like this: “Tuning Out”

How brands learn from television theme songs

Owning a sonic cue – decline of the jingle

Translating sounds...

Results at the Speed of Sound

Sound and product design


This Could Give You a Headache

Repetition is Marketing Mythology


8 – Visual Stimuli: Branding Objective: Become a “conversational” brand

Words are finite, images are limitless

Say it with purpose



Becoming more visual searchers, learners, and sharers

The journey to brands being content

The new moving image

Tracking evolution on dictionary at a time


9 – Experience Drivers: Branding Objective: Create a “system” with a closed feedback loop

Create a cross-functional system

Experience x Business Model

Evolution of “Brand”

Omnichannel Attributes

Great strategy comes from un-conventional places

The goal of Experience


10 – Cultural Connections: Branding Objective: Align thoughts and actions

The “safety in size” myth

Communication’s role in culture

Getting out of your seat, and into the field...

Who’s the villain in your brand story?

Finding your north star

Building a narrative

An age where POV matters

Owning your narrative

Undercover Boss

Aiming for success in action and commitment

Finding your brand north star

11 – Following the Feeling: What’s the role of technology in following the feeling?

Being a parachute of happiness