A list of must-read sites for anyone working in branding, whether in a start-up or a global conglomerate, covering design, content, marketing strategy and news.
Like the world in which they operate, brand managers have to be in constant motion.
They’re talking to their customers, collaborating with their business partners and agencies, and keeping a close eye on their competition.
If you’re a brand manager, then you’ll know that everything you do is affected by consumers, politics, economics, competitors, design trends, and technology… it’s an exciting yet complicated playing field.
It’s crucial, therefore, to have an arsenal of resources to stay on top of what’s going on in the world, what’s being done by other brands, and how ideas are being presented. We’ve put together a list of the best sites you can use to stay on top of your game (beside this one, of course!).
The Drum is full of stories about innovative marketing. Check it out for inspiration on all things digital, creative, advertising, and media-related.
All the latest news and expert opinions on what’s happening in the advertising world. Check in on a regular basis to see what the movers and shakers of the marketing world are doing.
A leading UK magazine for marketing news and opinion. Their articles cover advertising, media, PR, branding and online marketing. Their handy round-ups will help you stay on top of the most important news in the industry.
Choc-a-block with the hottest news in branding, Adweek will bring you up to the minute with all the major developments in the marketing world. Their ‘Popular Now’ column lets you know what everyone else in brand management is talking about so you can keep on your toes and stay on their heels.
Zest is a Google Chrome Extension that is constantly on the lookout for marketing content tailored to you. With only 1% of articles approved by the platform, they bring you the best advice out there, and save you a whole lot of time. Scroll through your feed of articles, selecting the ones that interest you. They’ll be saved in your Zest profile for you to return to when you’re ready. Follow other marketers and see what articles they’re reading, to learn from the people you respect most in your field.
The Hubspot blog is full of resources, how-to guides, and templates that will get you on your way to completing the inbound marketing certificates they offer. It’s a good place to go if you need a refresher, or a new way of doing things. Helpfully, it tells you how long each article will take to read, so even if you only have a spare few minutes, you can brush up on a skill.
If it’s SEO and online marketing you’re looking to improve, make a beeline for Moz. This blog is a compilation of advice, insight and research from experts across the SEO and Online Marketing industry. Every piece is tagged with a level (Basic to Advanced) so that whatever stage you’re at, you can access content that’s useful to you.
Another company blog zeroing in on data, analytics, and testing. This is a great place to monitor trends across big data, which key-words to tap into, and how best to reach your audience.
This blog specialises in Conversion Optimisation. It’s a good resource for articles and tips on how best to get people clicking, and staying, on your brand’s site or social channels. They cover SEO, A/B testing, personalisation to name a few key-word topics.
An online platform for you to share ideas and suggestions with other marketers across the world. Ask questions in the forums; attend virtual conferences; and check out their wide selection of videos for top marketing hacks.
Content and tone
The best place to go for tips on creating engaging and pertinent content for your customers, from lead stage, to conversion, to customer service and upselling. Make sure that all your customers’ questions are answered by the content on your channels. CMI offers advice on white papers and written content, as well as visual and design content. They also offer free regular webinars so there’s no excuse not to get involved.
With a strong focus on writing, Copyblogger will show you how to create compelling content that attracts and drives traffic. These blog posts, with a focus on language and writing technique, will help you to hone in on your brand’s tone and communication style.
A language consultancy obsessed with how you write what you write, The Writer makes you think about your voice. Their blog posts will give you handy tips on how best to speak in order to resonate with your audience. There are style guides, grammar tips, and even a Readability Checker to see how readable your content is.
Design and creativity
A go-to destination for all things visual. Comprehensive guides on everything from designing logos, posters and app-icons, to which design software to use, and how to stay on-trend. Whether you’re building, maintaining, or overhauling your brand, 99designs will keep you thinking about what’s important and what works when it comes to your brand’s image.
A creative hub on and offline, Itsnicethat will keep you in the know across the creative spectrum. Their blog looks at marketing through the lens of art and design. There’s coverage of new marketing campaigns; reflective pieces on provocative or offbeat work; and regular case studies and interviews of individual artists’ work. They also hold symposiums, treating their audiences to a yearly day of insight and inspiration.
The Dieline celebrates eye-popping packaging. It’s a breath of fresh air, as beautiful as the designs it’s applauding. Head over if you need an injection of inspiration, and a reminder that even within the practicality of packaging, there’s still much branding fun to be had.
One of the biggest players in the advertising and PR world, we could all learn a lot from Ogilvy’s visual excellence. The variety of their blog posts is enormous with categories ranging from ‘Storytelling’ to ‘Behavioural Science’. It’s a great resource to read about how design impacts on everything else in a marketing strategy.
A site devoted to the wonder that is logos! Go exploring on their site to find out the significance behind the Pixar lamp, or to read about the possibilities of the visual pun. It’s a treasure trove of beautiful design and fascinating psychology about the importance of strong branding.
If you’re stuck for an idea, indulge your wanderlust and let ID take you on a world tour of brands doing awesome things in design. It’s a brilliant way to get out of your own aesthetic and see a host of ideas very different to your own.
A great resource to get you up and running on the design front. There’s a host of free, vibrant, and instantly-usable images so you can furnish your blog, or company website with gorgeous graphics to optimize traffic on your channels.
Where design and business meet and mingle. A collection of brilliant articles filled with actionable insight on all areas of the creative workspace, whether you’re a C-suite creative or a freelance designer.
With plenty of templates to get you up and running, as well as an easy-to-use interface to create your own graphics and materials, Canva is a one-stop-shop for branding. There are also tutorials to refer to so you can take your design skills to the next level.
The blog version of Warren Berger’s book of the same name asks us to ask better questions. Full of articles about the nature of change and innovation, this is a great place to come when you’re rethinking how you think about marketing.
Timeless marketing lessons presented in bite-sized posts. The author and former dot com business exec keeps it snappy so you can dip in for mere seconds at a time. It reads like a collection of ‘takeaways’ you might find at the end of normal blog posts. Godin wastes no time telling you why, he just tells you what it is you need to do.
The blog of Influence & Co, this is a great place to go to get advice on creating roadmaps to successful marketing. Their posts will help you think about which goals are the right ones to set, and then what you need to do to make sure you get there.
The authority on all things business, this is a hotspot of excellence in technology and business writing. With articles on topics ranging from decision making, to social responsibility, it will make you question and strive to improve every aspect of your brand.
A giant of big data, McKinsey’s blog makes excellent use of their vast knowledge and provides detailed insight into trends and habits. A good place to learn more about what’s going on in your niche so that you can capitalize on it.
With posts from branding thought-leaders around the world, they are constantly re-evaluating the discipline of brand strategy. Stay up to date with offbeat new suggestions to make sure the blueprint of your branding is the best it can be.
A fantastic collection of posts on productivity, office tech, and good business sense. It’ll make sure you’re getting the most out of the tools you’re using.
Mobile Fix is a bundle of mobile branding joy delivered straight to your email every week. It’s a quick video update on the latest news and views on everything mobile.
This venture capital database gives you real-time data on start-ups, VC firms and angel investors in the US. Keep an eye on their blog, newsletter and reports to see what’s happening in the world of emerging businesses to keep your own branding ideas fresh.
A social news website reminiscent of Reddit. Articles can be upvoted by readers, and down-voted by experienced readers (with 501 karma points or more). It means that the articles featured on their very minimalist, almost retro dashboard have been vetted by people before you even get there.
General knowledge and world affairs
Concision is key when you’re busy building your brand. Head over to Inside Daily Brief for a quick round-up of the biggest things happening today, all on one page, all presented with brevity as their aim.
Another triumph from Inside, this is the perfect pit-stop if you’re time-short and ideas-hungry. Think of it as the Daily Brief’s quirky cousin. Only a few articles make the page each day, so they’ll bring you the crème de la crème of content to save you time and hassle.
Statista is full of beautiful infographics for a quick visual painting of what’s going on in the world today. With stats and facts galore, it’s a great place to check in with what’s going on in your consumer base, as well as those areas of the market you’re hoping to target with your branding.
The closest thing on this list to a lifestyle website, it can nonetheless be very useful. It’s a great place to see what conversations the world is having right now so that you can tap into them and drive more traffic for your brand.
Last but not least
And of course, we think Attest is another pretty great place to go. With a huge range of content (from analysis of what’s working in the marketing world right now, to tips on how best to track the success of your own brand’s marketing strategy) it’s a goldmine of data and insight.
Our weekly brand indexes are a particularly good overview of a specific industry, and gives a snapshot picture of the marketing that’s having the biggest impact right now.
There’s a wealth of top-notch brand management know-how at your fingertips. Click through to some of the sites on this list, and start exploring.
Of course, there will be some sites more suited to your niche than others, but it’s good to keep your net wide so that you’re aware of everything going on, and all the ways you might be able to think outside the box to build a fantastic, and unique brand.