Summary of The Compass and the Nail

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The Compass and the Nail book summary
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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


If you’ve ever argued with a colleague about why the details of each point of communication with your customers really matter, read this and pass it around the office. Branding expert Craig Wilson’s engaging text explains the importance of forging strong relationships with your customers and of aligning your company’s principles with those of your clientele. Wilson, a branding expert, shares his observations and shows how to convert prospective customers into ardent, loyal fans – all while running an environmentally and financially sustainable business. He provides actionable resources to ensure long-term, profitable customer relationships. Some of his language is moving and effective, though it may feel more poetic than practical, and the book’s structure can be clumsy. But the content overrides any minor issues. getAbstract recommends this manual to entrepreneurs, business students and professors, brand managers, anyone in customer relations or marketing, and those who prioritize environmental or social issues.

About the Author

Entrepreneur Craig Wilson worked at Patagonia in product marketing and joined its Internet Group. He consults on brand development and strategy, direct marketing and consumer loyalty.



“True North”

How does your organization define its true north – the principles that motivate everything it does? Businesses, brands, political groups and charities secure strong, loyal constituent relations by defining their true north and following it. Stay focused on understanding your customers, not data. Guard against brand erosion or deviation from your principles and mission.

Author Craig Wilson bonded with Patagonia when he found one of the company’s jackets in his sailing team’s bin of lost items. He found that the fleece top was the only article of clothing that protected him properly while he sailed. His love of sailing paired with Patagonia’s “reverence for nature” and “stories of adventurers.” When he applied for a marketing job with Patagonia Sailing in 1998, he explained how his beliefs and values matched Patagonia’s. Their shared true north united the company and the individual. Wilson worked for Patagonia for eight years.

The Imperative of “Sustainability”

A sustainable company considers all of the resources and costs – environmental, ethical, financial and social – that combine to make up its products. Corporate sustainability also...

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