Author: David Vinjamuri
Every year, thousands of new business are started by people with no knowledge of modern marketing at
all?and some of them survive and thrive. Accidental Branding tells the story of seven "accidental" brands
and how their founders beat bigger competitors by breaking the standard rules of marketing. Successful
brands like Burt's Bees, J. Peterman, and Clif Bar reveal how doing things differently can lead to big-time
success. If you're an entrepreneur or a marketer, this guide will show you how to build stronger brands.
The stories of acclaimed entrepreneurs like John Peterman (J. Peterman) and Gert Boyle (Columbia
Sportswear), whose brands generate a cult-like loyalty from consumers, give this book a lively flavor that
goes down better than any list of dry strategies. Author Vinjamuri--a marketing professor at New York
University and the founder of a marketing training company--reports that "every brand I wanted to write
about started with some fortuitous accident" visited upon perfectionists who "sweat every detail." Gary
Erickson, creator of the Clif Bar, is one such perfectionist; a long-distance cyclist disgusted with foul-
tasting energy bars, he invented his own bar, more delicious and nutritious than any of its competitors.
Another example is Roxanne Quimby, who was living in a tent in Maine with her five-year-old twin
daughters when Burt Shavitz, a beekeeper, picked her up hitchhiking and inspired her Burt's Bees brand.
Luck and good timing played a role for these businesspeople, but their success ultimately stemmed from
an "ability to think like their own consumer." Despite a tendency to digress, Vinjamuri has a similar
understanding of his readers. The chapter he dedicates to his own conclusions is thoughtful enough, but
not nearly as compelling as the stories of the entrepreneurs themselves. (Apr.)