Why Johnny Can't Brand

Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Big Idea

Winner of the Best Marketing Books Award from Strategy + Business Magazine. "There’s a Big Idea waiting inside your brand that can make you #1. Find it and shape it yourself—or competitors and customers will do it for you. And we promise, you won’t like the tagline."

A few years back, a best seller called Why Johnny Can’t Read shocked the education establishment and revived the lost art of phonics. Now, Why Johnny Can’t Brand blows the lid off the marketing establishment by reviving the lost art of the Big Idea.


According to Bill Schley, modern branding is a daily choice between real, muscle-building ideas and an immense smorgasbord of empty-caloried junk. The stakes are huge, especially in a world with 155 kinds of shampoo. So why do so many good companies choose wrong? In fact, why do most fail to differentiate at all—handing what some call an "unfair" advantage to the few who do? The surprising answers, and the exclusive, eight-week prescription to fix it, are here in Why Johnny Can’t Brand.


The secret is uncovering your Dominant Selling Idea (DSI)—the one unifying idea at the center of every brand—before you charge ahead with advertising or anything else. The DSI is "the thing you do that’s superlative, important, believable, memorable and tangible—the difference that makes people want to buy you." It puts you in a category of one.


In the often funny, page-turning style of an award winning, former Madison Avenue communicator, Schley explains:


  1. Why real branding is the opposite of what you think
  2. How positioning turns your brand asset from fool’s gold to real gold
  3. Why Harvard and Stanford MBAs are the last to get it (but they can learn this too)
  4. How to find your Big Idea in about eight weeks—then keep it...
    and so much more.


In a world with 300 million messages whizzing by every second, it gives us the ultimate advantage—an inspiring, power-packed return to the secret of the idea centered brand.

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