So I am a freelancer and I have been struggling with branding myself. I got this book as a gift and it took me a while to read it because I thought, oh no, another book that won’t be helpful because those marketing and branding books always end up telling you to invest in ads.
But one day I said, let’s see what Nela is talking about and good boi was I surprised. The book is meticulously written and it talks about personal branding for regular, small businesses and people who are trying to position themselves on the market. Nela’s story, examples and advices are meant for regular Joes and Janes that don’t have corporations having their financial back. It is a perfect book for someone who wants to build their small business.
The book also has a strong emphasis on ethical marketing which I personally love because in my years working in marketing for myself and my client I have always struggled to find a good guide for doing ethical marketing.
I would recommend this book to anyone, being the small business owner, influencer, YouTuber, or just even a person that wants to put themselves out there.
This review has been originally published on GoodReads.
Here’s what some prominent people in the creative and transformational business space have said about The Human Centered Brand:
“The Human Centered Brand is not your typical approach to branding. It’s designed specifically for heart-centered professionals and visionary souls who yearn to authentically show the world how exceptional and unique their work is.
Though branding has many moving parts, Nela clearly and thoroughly explains it all in a way that anyone can understand and use to elevate their creative business to the next level. The book balances theory, practice and examples with some fun visuals and personal stories that will teach, guide, and inspire you to create a truly original brand with your core values at the center.”
“Nela Dunato has given us a valuable gift in this book. She unpacks why traditional approaches to branding feel too creepy to many creative and social impact oriented business owners. Then, she takes the reader step by step through a process that will help you land on a brand for your business that is resonate and effective with your ideal clients. The part I appreciated most about The Human Centered Brand is how granular Nela is in her suggestions – this book goes way beyond theory to practical strategies that I feel deeply aligned with and use similar practices with my own marketing clients.”
“What I love most about Nela’s approach is that it emphasizes the importance of discovering and embracing our strengths, weaknesses, and values to build a brand we feel truly in alignment with. We all have unique things to contribute. We all have a distinct way of seeing the world. We all have different qualities and ways that make us effective. Nela’s framework shows how to make those elements the linchpin of our brand.”
“With The Human Centered Brand, Nela takes the confusion and overwhelm out of creating a brand for your business.
This book goes far beyond font and colour choice. The Human Centered Brand is a comprehensive guide to constructing a brand for your business and ensuring that it reflects your values as a business owner.”
I knew a fair amount about branding before reading this book, as I teach branding basics to authors and I’ve been interested in this topic for a long time. This book reinforced something I’d been thinking about, but hadn’t heard anyone talk about: that the brand stems from who we are, not the client and what they want. I learned way more about the complexity of branding and really appreciated that.
I enjoyed all the questions and that there’s a bonus workbook that I can’t wait to dig into. This book gave me a roadmap to follow and motivation to do so, which I really appreciate.
Overall, I’d recommend “The Human Centered Brand” for Nela’s humanity, humor, realness, and heart-centeredness! Creating one’s brand is doable and Nela’s book can help you do that at your speed.
Before reading “The Human Centered Brand”, I thought of branding as an ‘external’ thing – the physical stuff like the logo and colours, and the kind of image you project. I now see branding as a complete philosophy for attracting the kind of clients I really want to work with.
It was empowering and validating to do things the way that feel good to you. It puts the decision-making squarely in the hands of the business owner whilst allowing them to have a clear system. I also really like the Brand Discovery Pyramid and how ideal client comes last before the visual identity itself. One thing I’ve learned in my (multiple) business lives is that your ideal clients may often lurk in hitherto unsuspected places! You can look at someone else’s business that appears similar to yours and assume that your client model will be similar but it’s not necessarily the case.
It seems to me that this system means that the heart of the brand is allowed to speak before unnaturally hobbling it with preconceived ideas about who it will appeal to. And if the heart of the brand appeals to people you didn’t expect it to, you might discover that, in a sense, your previous ideas about ‘ideal clients’ had a lot of bias in them!
This book will help people understand branding as a means to attract clients who resonate with what they do and the way they do it. Branding is about a hell of a lot more than what your logo looks like and the picture you’ve got on your About Me page!
Although I have studied various areas of business for years, I’ve never dived in on branding. After reading this book, I realized that it is doable, and that I can do it as myself. I used to think that branding was kind of like going to get professional help with how you dress, that you get a “style”, from outside, so I resisted it. Now I understand that branding is more about finding the core elements of my business and myself, becoming really clear about how to consistently bring them out in every part of my business, and then do that.
I enjoyed the friendly style of writing, the combination of “inner” and “outer” and the hands on, practical approach. I got a lot of practical ideas for consistently following my “red thread”.
I like that it is easy to read, and yet has the quality of a handbook, a resource you can come back to again and again. This book would be a good use of money for anyone who wants to get serious about branding.
If branding has felt like something fake or externally motivated, and you like to do things in your own authentic way, this book will help you brand your business or creative project from the inside out.
The Human Centered Brand is a clearly and eloquently written book on branding that eschews empty phrases, buzzwords and rigid step by step rules for experience-based advice and simple but wise guidelines. There’s no handholding but rather the impression of setting off on a journey with a basic map annotated by an expert pathfinder both pointing out the difficult terrain (i.e. where they tumbled into a thorny bush) and teaching you to recognize it on your own (while also noting that thorny bushes are a valuable lesson in themselves). Dunato is genuinely interested in helping out, not making a quick buck.
Providing a plethora of sensible advice and valuable insights, the Human Centered Brand will surely be of use to both those just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey as well as those who’ve found themselves at a crossroads or in need of a new direction. My favorite thing about the book, however, is that there is much advice to be found between the pages that is applicable to other (creative) pursuits and areas of life as well.
While not a doorstopper the HBC nevertheless packs an equivalent punch, providing a masterclass for the price of a few cups of coffee (and if you ever get a chance to have one with the author and pick her brain, go for it).