Blackad bookshelf: Obviously Awesome by April Dunford

Written by Rachel McCallion

The confidence of the title was enough to convince us this was the next book for us. Well that, and the fact that its subject is brand positioning. Not a new topic for the Blackad team, but one we were keen to know more about.

But is the title deservedly confident? We hit ‘sync’ on our Kindles to find out.

What's it all about?

Obviously Awesome sets out to be the ultimate instruction manual on brand positioning – what it is, why it matters and how to do it. The setup: Dunford spent her early career struggling through positioning projects. None of the ‘experts’ around her – including authors of books on the subject – seemed able to articulate the process. Years of experience later, she wrote the guide she’d been searching for.

There are helpful brand positioning examples dotted throughout – like Arm and Hammer’s pivot from baking companion to odour eliminator. This adds a twinkle of human interest in an otherwise process-heavy read.

Why we loved it

Positioning expert Dunford has certainly earned her brand positioning stripes. She’s worked for top dogs like Intel, and a stack of successful startups. This experience is evident in the book – she gives loads of examples from her time in the marketing trenches.

Where it lost marks

We all agreed that a little extra linguistic polish would have made Dunford’s work a more enjoyable read. But what her prose lacked in flair, she made up for in expertise. So only half a mark docked there.

More distracting was the way some simple points were over-explained or needlessly revisited. We felt the book could have been significantly shorter.

The book also fails to soften its obvious subtext: selling April Dunford’s services. That was a little too heavy-handed for us.

Our verdict

It’s not a gripping read, but it is a useful one. Her advice is the type you could pick up and use right now. In fact, we spent much of our #BlackBooks lunch talking about how we could apply what we’d learned to our own brand.

In summary…

Alan: “I found the point that positioning is constantly evolving with customer attitudes and preferences interesting. It emphasises the importance of checking in with your customers.”

Siân: “I’d never thought about the fact that you can switch brand positioning at will. That was interesting. But I did think the book could have been half the length.”

Helen: “I wanted to learn more about this topic, but the book didn’t set my world on fire when I was reading it.”

Chris: “The examples and anecdotes weren’t that memorable, but in general it has definitely given us some food for thought.”

Rachel: “I’ve learned from this book. I found that when I was reading I was constantly thinking of our own processes.”

Next steps

🛒 Order 'Obviously Awesome' from Amazon

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