Name This Book

May I please borrow your opinion? It’ll only take a sec.

Thing is, for the past year, I’ve been working on a book about the dawning Relationship Era, in which brands must find human connections between themselves and stakeholders as opposed to purchasing attention for the purpose of persuading strangers to buy something. It’s about how to emerge from the rubble of mass media and mass marketing to forge sustainable relationships based on shared interests and values -– and to lower marketing costs in the bargain.

Never mind the year of tapping at the keyboard. For me, this book represents the evolution of my thinking, a process that began in earnest 7-1/2 years ago. I’ve staked my reputation on it, and my career. For my co-author, Doug Levy, CEO of MEplusYOU, it represents something more like a spiritual awakening. This is a man who a decade ago had a soul-shaking conversion experience through which he came to understand that brands lacking a core purpose are hollow vessels, disadvantaged in cultivating any meaningful connection with stakeholders.



And so our book is about how to simultaneously find customers and yourself. It’s  part economic analysis, part case histories, part best practices, part data evidence and part manifesto. We got a handsome advance from a major publisher. We have a pub date in the spring. The manuscript will be finished in six weeks. There’s only one problem:

What to name the damn book.

The book will not be called The Human Element, although that was the working title for months. It will not be called The Relationship Era. No matter what you read in the publisher’s spring catalogue, it will not be called True Like. Nor That Thing Called Like or Money Can’t Buy You Like, because they may seem too Facebooky, and our book goes far beyond Facebook and social media in general. It won’t be called Meaningful Returns or Return on Intent. It won’t be called Significant Others or Virtuous Circles.

Even though the book is the natural evolution of my 2010 The Chaos Scenario, it won’t be called The Friendship Scenario, The Harmony Scenario or The Sustainability Scenario. It won’t be called The Trust Axis, The Trust Circle, The Trust Economy, The Trust Effect, The Trust Factor or The Trust Multiplier. It won’t be called Treat Me Like a Friend or Truth, Trust & Hot Donuts. It won’t be called We or Unmarketing, because somebody else published them first.

For better or worse, it won’t be called How to Venn Friends and Influence People.

And it won’t be called 150 other things. Nearly 200 possibilities have been tossed around, and every single one has been rejected by one party to the process or another. This may have something to do with how elusive a good title is. It also may have something to do with the dynamics of a committee. We have two authors, an agent, an editor, a marketing director and the publisher himself working on the problem -- and after months of back and forth, we are exactly nowhere.

Consensus is hard. Unanimity seems to be impossible. The only title everybody absolutely agreed on was Oprah’s Miracle I Love Cats Diet. It was unanimously rejected on the grounds of stupidity..

So do me a favor. Name the damn book for me. The title requirements are that it must jump out from the cover, fairly describe the book, be neither too narrow or too broad, be novel and memorable -- and in a perfect world, represent a call to action.  Please hurry with this.

Seriously, how hard can it be?



61 comments about "Name This Book".
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  1. Nelson Van elderen from Grand Valley State University, June 18, 2012 at 8:10 a.m.


  2. Mitch Joel from Mirum, June 18, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.

    How about: Can't Buy Me Love

  3. Robert Wright from iAsk , June 18, 2012 at 9:12 a.m.

    Hello Bob,

    I'm also working on a the same topic.

    Branding Sales through Service

    Face time is better than Facebook

    Coming closer to the consumer

    Let me know if I can add to or support your discussion.

    Good Luck/ Best wishes,


  4. Jim Thomas from Frank N. Magid Associates, June 18, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.

    Relationship Revolution

  5. Claire Ratushny from Write Strategy, June 18, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.

    Build a Business Based on Relationships or Sink into Irrelevance

  6. John Fitzgerald from Crain Communications, June 18, 2012 at 11:20 a.m.

    Trust Me: Forging Sustainable Brand Relationships Based on Shared Values

  7. Jeff Copus from Highmark Caring Place, June 18, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.

    Your Company is Soulless and Everyone Knows It: how simultaneously find yourself and customers

  8. Jeffrey Marino from Visible World, June 18, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.


  9. Michele Paled from MP Marketing, June 18, 2012 at 11:28 a.m.

    I Gotta Trust You Before I Buy You!

  10. Mark Walker from aka Media Mark, June 18, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.

    The Relationship Era is a Fickle Teenager

  11. Kate Tickner from Netezza, an IBM Company, June 18, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.

    "What's Your Name in the Game?"

  12. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER, June 18, 2012 at 11:34 a.m.

    (How to influence people by using the very ones you're trying to influence)

  13. Katie Paine from Paine Publishing, June 18, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.

    I used "revenutionships" in my book and everyone threw up all over it.. so I feel your pain.
    And it can't just be about trust, relationships have so many other components -- commitment, credibility, satisfaction, integrity, control mutuality.
    My subhead was "relationships are a brand's best friend" lame, I know..

  14. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, June 18, 2012 at 11:36 a.m.

    Connections For Building Brands

  15. Laurence Rutter from Rudders & Moorings Yacht Sales, June 18, 2012 at 11:37 a.m.


    It's all about the links

  16. Pauline Aridas from Nielsen Company, June 18, 2012 at 11:37 a.m.

    Would You Hold This Stake for Me?

  17. Ronald Stack from Zavee LLC, June 18, 2012 at 11:39 a.m.

    "The Book With The Crowdsourced Title"

  18. Dave Brody from Purch, June 18, 2012 at 11:48 a.m.

    Agree with Tom & Ron! "NAME THIS BOOK: Why I Crowdsourced My Book Title"

  19. Timothy Cory from JWT Team Detroit, June 18, 2012 at 11:48 a.m.

    Tell me a story I want to hear.


    The BOOK of STORIES. The brands book to relating their message in the digital age.

  20. Vera Carbo from carbo&partners, June 18, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.

    book title:

    "You are my new BFF"

  21. Jonathan Hall from American Pop, June 18, 2012 at noon

    "Goin' Steady; Marketing in the Dawning Relationship Era" Bob, we at American Pop are big fans since you spoke at the Southwest Media Group's digital forum a couple years ago. Keep telling the truth and making people feel uncomfortable!

  22. Doug Levy from MEplusYOU, June 18, 2012 at 12:04 p.m.

    Thanks for all of the great ideas!! I'm refreshing this page every few minutes and really enjoying the creative contributions. Please keep 'em coming. THANK YOU!!

  23. Paul Corey from Turn 5, June 18, 2012 at 12:13 p.m.


  24. Kerry Heilskov from Yellowbook, June 18, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.

    The Nexus Project

  25. Renny Fidlon from Poptent, June 18, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.

    Death of the Brand
    Rethinking Branding
    Death to the Masses
    How to build a brand

  26. Robert McClean from Emailmovers Ltd, June 18, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.

    Agree with Tom, Ron, David Brody! "NAME THIS BOOK: Why I Crowdsourced My Book Title"

    "Hey Dude!: getting under the skin of the Relationship Era"
    "Wot u like?"
    "Linking, liking and aliteration"
    "If we can't work out the title how can we expect you to?" ;)

    Seriously, what a clever way to get subscribers to your blog and mailing list. +1

  27. Renny Fidlon from Poptent, June 18, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.

    Those are actually 4 different titles. Death of the Brand. Rethinking Branding. Death to the Masses. How to Build a Brand.

  28. Jim Rienstra from Camelot, June 18, 2012 at 12:58 p.m.

    Can you really love a brand?

  29. Bryan Boettger from Reevuit, June 18, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.

    "Connecting" or "Connecting in a Connected Time"

  30. Mark Silber from, June 18, 2012 at 1:11 p.m.

    In a Relationship: The New Brand-Consumer Dynamic and Why Love Letters Are More Powerful Than Ads

  31. Donna DeClemente from DDC Marketing Group, June 18, 2012 at 1:24 p.m.

    Will you still Love me tomorrow?

  32. Pam Mcneely from Tantara Media Partners, June 18, 2012 at 1:32 p.m.

    Pssst Brands

  33. Kirby Winfield from Dwellable, June 18, 2012 at 1:37 p.m.

    Share This Conversation: Influencing the Post-Advertising Consumer

  34. Dina Light-mcneely from RAPP, June 18, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.

    Brand Enlightenment
    Nirvana - the Quest for Brand Enlightenment

  35. Pete Diffendal from On The Mark Promotions, June 18, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.


  36. Laurie Gelb from Profit by Change, June 18, 2012 at 1:46 p.m.

    It's the Cornbread, Not the Corn: Baking Relationships that Nourish Brands

  37. Mark Henry from Nature Publishing Group, June 18, 2012 at 1:46 p.m.

    New World Marketing

  38. G.P. Ching from Carpe Luna, Ltd., June 18, 2012 at 1:58 p.m.

    Getting Personal: Forming Real Relationships in a Virtual World.

  39. Ananda Chakravarty from Monster Worldwide, June 18, 2012 at 2 p.m.

    You, me, and everyone else.

    Cross branding Doug's site. Simple, elegant, and can appeal to broad sets of people, but still can be suggestive with the right over art.

    Best of luck. Great marketing thought to ask the crowd...

  40. Jim Clark from University of Idaho , June 18, 2012 at 2:04 p.m.


  41. Courtney Smith from PureMatter Brand Marketing + Interactive, June 18, 2012 at 2:08 p.m.

    Doing it with the Lights On: The end of anonymity in the brand/customer relationship

    -and your opening line -

    "I did it with all of you... and it was GLORIOUS."

  42. Craig Walton from The Scooter Store, June 18, 2012 at 2:30 p.m.

    Title: "Don't I know you?"
    Sub: "How a brand can forge relationships in a mass media world"

  43. Bill McClain from Bill McClain Brand Builder, June 18, 2012 at 2:41 p.m.

    True Love: Building brand value with brand values

  44. Brian Quinn from Triad Retail Media, June 18, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.

    "Nothing Under the Kimona: A Naked Appeal for Brands to Connect With Consumers:

  45. Timothy Cory from JWT Team Detroit, June 18, 2012 at 4:06 p.m.

    Are you listening or talking? How to listen in an interactive world.

  46. Elicia Greenberg from EBG Marketing, June 18, 2012 at 4:23 p.m.

    "Happy Brandiversary: How Great Brands Thrive on Committed Relationships"

  47. Dave Kramer from CET Public TV, June 18, 2012 at 4:24 p.m.

    Let's see now - you have either tapped into the creative genius of thyousands, or expanded your committee one hundred fold. Good luck if it's the latter.

  48. Wendy Dyer from The marketing suite, June 18, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.

    You may kiss the brand.

  49. Andrew Arnott from vclever digital design and marketing, June 19, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.

    Getting to Know You: Forming meaningful brand relationships by knowing yourself and your stakeholders

  50. Ken Habarta from The Futures Company, June 19, 2012 at 10:06 a.m.

    "Close To You" or "Closer than You Think" with the subtitle "Helping Brands Understand and Deal with their feelings" or something in the direction of eHarmonizing brands.

  51. James Hering from The Richards Group, June 19, 2012 at 11:20 a.m.

    "Souligration - How corporate ethos defines the new age of brand relationships"

  52. Adam Parikh from Hanson Dodge Creative, June 19, 2012 at 1:22 p.m.

    Soul Brand

  53. Philip Moore from Philip Moore, June 19, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.

    Put Your Money Where My Mouth Is

  54. barry letzer from Merging Medias, June 19, 2012 at 5:08 p.m.

    Thanks Bob !
    What a great idea.
    Ok, here's some of our ideas.

    Brand Business.... It's Personal
    Branded Love
    Branded Living
    Brands With A Heartbeat
    Core Sponsors
    Everyone's Branded
    Me and Media
    Media is Me
    Life in a Branded World
    Social Brains
    Sponsored Living
    Branded, Life as it is...

    There you go Bob.

    But something to consider, Seth Godin is now "Crowdsourcing" his new book's distribution.....and giving folks a "vested" interest in helping to make it a success...

    Got any offers for us ?

  55. Lauren Moores from Moores Data, June 19, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.

    Know yourself, know your audience

  56. Cynthia Bruggeman from Speckled-Hound Consulting, June 20, 2012 at 6:47 a.m.

    1: Company Seeking Consumer for Lifelong Relationship

    2: I Take Thee for My Brand

    3: For Better or Worse
    Sub: Engaging Brand Partners for Life

  57. Ken Habarta from The Futures Company, June 20, 2012 at 2:32 p.m.

    "Keep Your Friends Close and Your Brands Closer"

  58. Ken Habarta from The Futures Company, June 20, 2012 at 2:33 p.m.

    "Brandversationally Speaking"

  59. Dave Kellogg from, June 20, 2012 at 5:17 p.m.

    1. Marketing in the Post-Advertising Era
    2. Connection-Based Marketing
    3. Fourth-Generation Marketing (first was feature/benefit, second was positioning, third was branding)
    4. Marketing to Millennials: Trust, Not Spin

  60. Jeff Lekieffre from Casale Media, June 21, 2012 at 2:05 p.m.

    Consumers are from Mars, brands are from Venus [or vice versa]
    XXIst Century Brand: the Age of Trust

  61. Andrea Caldwell from University of Notre Dame, June 24, 2012 at 4:39 p.m.

    Brand Unity: Putting the "Us" Back in Customer

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