Baked In | Alex Bogusky

Summary of: Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves
By: Alex Bogusky


In a world driven by innovation, it’s crucial for businesses to keep up. ‘Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves’ by Alex Bogusky challenges the traditional approach to marketing by suggesting that companies should ‘bake’ consumers’ wishes and insights right into their products. By aligning a product with its story and its audience, it can sell itself, making the message and the product one and the same. This summary explores the challenges of corporate structure, the changing consumer landscape, and roles collaboration and innovation play in successful marketing.

The Power of Product Narratives

Products need a narrative that goes beyond superficial promises. Traditional marketing strategies rely on focus groups that fail to elicit authentic product stories and instead create false illusions. The true narrative of a product should be embedded into its design, ensuring congruency with its story and audience. Companies must break down silos and collaborate between employees, customers, and marketers to create a potent product narrative that resonates in a rapidly changing commercial landscape. Corporate structures often impede creativity and hinder momentum, making it vital to adapt and create a story that extends beyond advertising and supports the product’s real personality.

The Power of Co-creation

In a world where customers seek outstanding, tailor-made products, playing it safe is no longer an option for businesses. The line between manufacturers and consumers has blurred, and customers want to be involved in product design. Failure to include them in the process can result in severe brand damage, as consumers now control a company’s public image. This shift towards co-creation has given rise to the Participation Economy, where companies collaborate with customers to tell their product’s narrative. Beyond the marketplace, innovative thinking and design hold the key to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. This book urges businesses to embrace change and leverage the power of co-creation to stay ahead of the competition and make a positive impact on society.

Innovation Trumps Branding

In the past, marketing was all about spin. Competition was minimal, so brands relied on marketing to differentiate themselves. However, traditional marketing is no longer enough in today’s market. Successful companies focus on innovation as their most powerful brand-building weapon. Starbucks famously refrained from conventional marketing and relied on the quality of their products to create a loyal customer base. Similarly, Apple did not advertise its way to dominance but instead created innovative products like the iPod and iTunes, which opened up new markets. Today, companies must remember that collaboration is essential, and internal silos should be broken down for success. The answer to the question “Is a website a product, a retail location or marketing?” is all of the above. Companies must find new and innovative ways to build their brand and create their unique markets.

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