Brand Warfare - 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand by David F. D'Alessandro (published 2001 by McGraw-Hill).Book review of
D'Alessandro was the CEO of John Hancock, one of the largest insurance carriers in the United States. While D'Alessandro's focus is on branding in large enterprises, most of his ideas apply to small software development companies, too.
Small companies have to build brands if they expect to become larger companies. You can't just write an application, name it, and start marketing your software. You should be positioning your product and thinking about branding long before you begin writing your code.
Before becoming CEO of John Hancock, when D'Alessandro was working for a New York marketing firm, one of his first clients was Orville Redenbacher. Seeking to become the leading force in the popcorn industry, Redenbacher sought professional advice. D'Alessandro admits that he didn't even know that there was a popcorn industry.
Redenbacher was particularly proud of the hybrid corn that he had developed, and the popcorn that he manufactured. In an industry where it seemed that nothing could be more commoditized than popcorn, Redenbacher built a brand, and dominated his market.
More interesting for microISVs, Redenbacher was able to charge a premium for his popcorn that no competitor could match. Redenbacher gave a commodity a voice. Through his endearing public persona, he convinced consumers that his popcorn was worth buying, even at the premium price that he asked.