Summary of Beyond the Brand

Why Engaging the Right Customers is Essential to Winning in Business

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Beyond the Brand book summary
The best way to bond with your customers is to listen to their stories – and tell them yours. It's "anthro-journalism".


8 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Most marketing books discuss how marketers should relate to their customers. Some use a formal, objective approach to penetrate the wall that separates the service or product provider from the consumer. This book promotes a very different, softer "anthro-journalistic" tactic: learning consumers' desires by hearing their stories and reflecting those wishes in the product's design. This leads to giving the product its own stories to "tell" potential customers, in a mutual social network based on shared meaning. The idea borrows the power of the oral tradition from anthropology and applies it to word-of-mouth product promotion. Author John Winsor stresses listening and storytelling as ways for trained marketers to understand customers and sell to them. Although his treatise dips occasionally into slightly airy New Age sensibilities, Winsor's information on the flaws of focus groups and the importance of heartfelt, meaningful customer feedback tells a story of its own. Of course, applying a cultural anthropologist's perspective to marketing will work better for some businesses than others. thinks this book will intrigue and possibly challenge marketers who want to break out of branding buzz and explore new ideas.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How listening to your customers' stories can help you discover new marketing strategies
  • How to tell potential customers your product's story
  • What "anthro-journalism" is and how to use it
  • How to learn what consumers want by tapping into your customers' "social networks"


The Storytellers
In 1995, Nike decided to enter the very competitive golf market with its own balls, bags, shoes and golf clubs. The company found common ground with golfers by cultivating relationships with golf pros and top players to learn what they wanted. As players began to use its...
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About the Author

In 1998 John Winsor started Radar Communications, a marketing consultancy using organic, bottom-up anthro-journalistic tools. In 1986, he founded Sports & Fitness Publishing, which he sold to Condé Nast and Emap in 1998.

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