Skip to main content

Accidental Branding: How Ordinary People Build Extraordinary Brands

Accidental Branding: How Ordinary People Build Extraordinary Brands

David Vinjamuri

ISBN: 978-0-470-16506-5 March 2008 224 Pages


In Stock



Every year, thousands of new business are started by people with no knowledge of modern marketing at all?and some of them survive and thrive. Accidental Branding tells the story of seven ""accidental"" brands and how their founders beat bigger competitors by breaking the standard rules of marketing. Successful brands like Burt's Bees, J. Peterman, and Clif Bar reveal how doing things differently can lead to big-time success. If you're an entrepreneur or a marketer, this guide will show you how to build stronger brands.

Related Resources


Request an Evaluation Copy for this title

Foreword ix

Introduction xi

What Is an Accidental Brand? 1

The Accidental Brand-Builder in You 9

The Storyteller: John Peterman (J. Peterman) 25

The Contrarian: Craig Newmark (craigslist) 51

The Tinkerer: Gary Erickson (Clif Bar) 73

The Visionary and the Strategist: Myriam Zaoui and Eric Malka (The Art of Shaving) 97

The Pugilist: Gert Boyle (Columbia Sportswear) 125

The Perfectionist: Julie Aigner-Clark (Baby Einstein) 145

The Anarchist: Roxanne Quimby (Burt’s Bees) 169

Afterword 195

Index 199

The stories of acclaimed entrepreneurs like John Peterman (J. Peterman) and Gert Boyle (Columbia Sportswear), whose brands generate a cult-like loyalty from consumers, give this book a lively flavor that goes down better than any list of dry strategies. Author Vinjamuri—a marketing professor at New York University and the founder of a marketing training company—reports that “every brand I wanted to write about started with some fortuitous accident” visited upon perfectionists who “sweat every detail.” Gary Erickson, creator of the Clif Bar, is one such perfectionist; a long-distance cyclist disgusted with foul-tasting energy bars, he invented his own bar, more delicious and nutritious than any of its competitors. Another example is Roxanne Quimby, who was living in a tent in Maine with her five-year-old twin daughters when Burt Shavitz, a beekeeper, picked her up hitchhiking and inspired her Burt's Bees brand. Luck and good timing played a role for these businesspeople, but their success ultimately stemmed from an “ability to think like their own consumer.” Despite a tendency to digress, Vinjamuri has a similar understanding of his readers. The chapter he dedicates to his own conclusions is thoughtful enough, but not nearly as compelling as the stories of the entrepreneurs themselves. (Apr.) (Publishers Weekly, February 8, 2008)