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Books on advertising that every B.A. (Hons.) Advertising & PR should read

January 5, 2024

Students pursuing B.A. (Hons.) Advertising & PR must have a comprehensive understanding of various concepts to succeed in their professional lives. One of the most significant aspects that they need to delve into is consumer psychology. Other aspects include understanding the dynamics of communication, the role of media in shaping public perception, and the strategic use of various advertising tools. Beyond the syllabus, students can gain invaluable insights by reading books on advertising, marketing strategies, case studies of successful campaigns, and biographies of industry leaders. Here, we share some of the books on advertising that every B.A. (Hons.) Advertising & PR should read :

Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

"Permission Marketing" by Seth Godin introduces a transformative approach that counters the intrusive nature of traditional advertising, which Godin terms 'interrupt marketing.' This conventional method relies on interrupting a consumer's activity to grab their attention—think television commercials or pop-up ads. Godin argues that this approach is becoming less effective in a world where consumers are inundated with marketing messages.

In contrast, 'permission marketing' is a strategy that focuses on building a relationship with the consumer. It's about seeking the consumer's consent to receive marketing information. This method is more respectful and personalised, and it revolves around the consumer opting in rather than being an unwitting target. The key to permission marketing is offering value in exchange for attention—whether that's informative content, a free sample, or an exclusive offer.

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

The author emphasises the importance of crafting a brand message that resonates with customers by telling a story where they are the protagonists. The key is to show how the brand can help customers overcome problems and achieve their goals. Miller identifies two major errors in marketing: not articulating how a brand helps people thrive and overwhelming customers with too much irrelevant information. To correct these, Miller proposes a story format that focuses on survival and prosperity while eliminating superfluous details.

Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich by David Garfinkel

The book delves into the psychology behind why certain headlines capture attention and how to construct them to resonate with the intended audience. Garfinkel provides readers with practical techniques and insights derived from successful advertising campaigns. Some of the tips discussed include: creating compelling headlines involves understanding your audience and directly addressing their interests. Prioritise clear communication over being witty to ensure the message is understood. Headlines should highlight the benefits of a product or service, using emotionally charged words to attract attention. Continuously test various headlines to identify the most effective ones, and refine your strategy accordingly. Employ the Four Us approach—making headlines urgent, unique, ultra-specific, and useful. Maintain a swipe file of successful headlines for inspiration and guidance.

How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don't Know by Byron Sharp

It challenges conventional marketing wisdom and presents a data-driven approach to brand growth. Sharp argues that broad reach is more effective than niche targeting, as all types of buyers contribute to sales growth, not just a loyal customer base. The book emphasises the importance of understanding and leveraging market data to make informed decisions that can lead to brand success. By adopting the principles outlined in the book, students and future marketers can develop strategies that are more likely to result in substantial brand growth. This knowledge is crucial for building a successful career in marketing, as it equips professionals with a scientific understanding of consumer behaviour and brand dynamics.

Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age by Jonah Berger

Berger introduces the STEPPS framework, which stands for Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories. These are the key principles that drive content to become viral:

  • Social Currency: People share things that make them look good to others.
  • Triggers: Topics that are top of mind lead to tip of the tongue; hence, more shareable.
  • Emotion: When we care, we share. Emotional content often goes viral.
  • Public: The more public something is, the more likely people will imitate it.
  • Practical Value: Useful information gets shared
  • Stories: Information wrapped in stories is more likely to be shared.
  • Looking for quality advertising and PR courses?

    Explore our B.A. (Hons.) Advertising & PR programme. It is designed for students aiming for careers in advertising, brand management, and public relations. The course covers key areas such as brand management, campaign planning, public relations, social media marketing, and digital advertising.

    Key highlights of the programme include:

  • Student-centred learning approach
  • Experiential learning with an industry-relevant curriculum
  • Strong placement opportunities
  • Internships with reputed organisations
  • Focus on social and cultural immersion for overall personality development
  • A liberal, multicultural, and vibrant environment
  • State-of-the-art infrastructure with well-equipped studios and media labs
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