William Ammerman’s The Invisible Brand: Marketing in the Age of Automation, Big Data, and Machine Learning has a number of strong suits. Thoroughness is among them – Ammerman explores the subject of what paradigm shifting technological advances will transform human lives, revolutionize marketing and messaging campaigns with an all-encompassing eye. He even appends “recaps” at the end of each chapter reinforcing his point. Despite the clear intelligence driving this book’s ideas, Ammerman never loses readers in a maze of jargon or terminology. The Invisible Brand is accessible to any educated adult.
ABOUT WILLIAM AMMERMAN: wammerman.com/books/the-invisible-brand/
His credentials alone demand the book’s observations be given serious thought, Ammerman boosts his own cause however thanks to assertive writing that makes his arguments often difficult to refute, but he is reeling in some big fish. Ammerman is a true believer of technology’s transformative power in our lives and doesn’t envision an aspect of human experience remaining untouched by its influence. He casts no real judgments either way about these developments and maintains admirable objectivity rather than settling deep in any particular camp.
It isn’t a dry and stilted work, but it does have academic inclinations. Ammerman has spent many hours researching the subject, working within the digital world, and supporting sources are well documented throughout the book. He does himself further credit structuring the book in a sensible and linear fashion; The Invisible Brand unfolds in an orderly fashion and methodically delves through the issues raised within the text.
He has enormous confidence throughout the book. Ammerman introduces us to concepts like psychotechnology, discusses the primacy of algorithms in modern messaging, and the perhaps unexpected emotional attachments humanity forms to increasingly personable technology. Information about the bonds drivers can form with their GPS systems and Alexas are particularly telling to me and might induce a bit of a chill for some. Humanity is entering uncharted waters over perhaps the next quarter century and such tales read like augers for wholesale changes to our consciousness to come.
There are an assortment of graphics included in the book that are helpful, but Ammerman never relies on such moments to reinforce his conclusions. Solid and well-reasoned argument drives The Invisible Brand forward and the hard work Ammerman put into realizing the potential of this work is evident on each page. It has a simple visual presentation of section and subject headings wrought in large font sizes – neat, uncluttered, and focused on delivering a coherent reading experience.
I think the inclusion of Ammerman’s personal experiences with the subject and digital movers and shakers of every stripe is the book’s crowning touch. The Invisible Brand, without it, might have read more like a piece of academically inspired theorizing about inhuman experience and would hence lack the personalized impact Ammerman’s insights bring to the work. He has produced a book with lasting value as both a guide to a brave new world and, eventually, as a likely prescient comment on our shared future. We can ignore its point of view at our own peril.