Corporate Books – Dr Victor SL Tan


Dr. victorThere is a better a way to enhance the value of your company. It is not about creating a new logo or defining a new vision. Neither is it about coming up with a new slogan or a new set of core values. And no, it is not about enhancing your website, repackaging or advertising either.

It is a cost effective way to brand your company – simply write a corporate book. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, an online shoe retailer did just that. He wrote the book, Delivering Happiness and shared his company’s unique approach to success by delivering exceptional service to customers. The book was featured in The Washington Post, CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. The book stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 27 consecutive weeks and certainly did a great job of marketing Zappos as a company; and also of creating a strong brand presence.

What are the objectives of writing a book for your company? What benefits can your company gain from this type of book?

1/ Capture The Legacy Of The Founder
In essence, a legacy is something that is handed down from one generation to the next. The legacy of a company is more than just cash and net assets. In the book, Lessons of Success, the legacy of the founder of Public Bank, Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow includes his philosophy, values, leadership insights, hind sights and foresights as well as the whole corporate culture of the bank that was fostered by him.

A well-written book will chronicle the entrepreneurial spirit of the founder and how the company developed from a small outfit to a successful corporation. It would highlight the lessons of success which the founder has learnt; and how he has led his team to achieve the company’s goals. It would also share how he has weathered crises and has survived to grow stronger and bigger in the midst of challenges.

The founder, Herb Kelleher wrote a book called Nuts to capture the legacy of his work philosophy and culture of success for Southwest Airlines. His model of success is his legacy that has made Southwest Airlines well-known to the extent that it became a case study for business school and corporations.

2/ Market The Company
A well-documented book on the success story of a company can serve as an effective tool to market the firm. It differentiates the company from the other companies that are merely promoting their firms through brochures, banners and billboards. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group has many bestselling books that promote not only his philosophy and leadership but also his group of companies. Some of his bestselling books include The Virgin Way, Business Stripped Bare and Reach For The Skies.

While people will throw away corporate brochures, most will keep a corporate book. Some leaders even display a photo of themselves in the book with the founder of the company. Such is the prestige that a book holds in the eyes of leaders compared to other types of promotional material.

3/ Capture The Proprietary Intellectual Capital Of The Company
Writing a corporate book is very different from writing a biography that only focuses on the story of a person. Writing a corporate book requires one to understand the business and the industry the company is in. The writer and his team will research the company and the industry; interview key personnel of the firm and industry experts; and then do a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis and a competitor analysis. In the process they may uncover the firm’s unique model of success which can become its proprietary intellectual capital.

4/ Attract Positive Publicity
A book generates a lot of opportunities for free publicity. Book reviews and special features on the success story of the company are usually of interest to newspapers and magazines. Likewise, the success story of the company will also attract radio and TV interviews which are good ways to promote the company at no charge. A book launch is another good opportunity to market the firm and products to potential customers.

5/ Inspire the Staff
A corporate book is not just about the founder; it is also about the leaders and the staff who helped to build the company. It also captures the stories of the people and their contribution to the success of the company. It becomes the pride of the staff and helps to build a sense of identity, team spirit and ownership.

In essence, a corporate book is a legacy that will inspire the staff as well as future generations of leaders to continue to lead, grow and sustain the success of the company.

In conclusion, a company need not spend millions of dollars each year trying to market and brand itself. All it needs is the success story of the firm in a corporate book.

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2015 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!

Dr. Victor S.L. Tan

Dr Victor SL Tan is the CEO of KL Strategic Change Consulting Group. He undertakes change management consulting and training. He is also the author of 10 management books. Find out more at