There are books for every topic which most in the field consider definitive or must-haves. For instance, for usability and application design, Designing the Obvious, Don't Meke Me Think, and The Inmates Are Running the Asylum are considered authoritative titles.
But what are the equivalents for the field of brand development? I've come across Brand Advocate: A Strategy-Driven Workbook by Bill Nissim and Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler, but I haven't seen any reviews for them.
I'm particularly interested in workbooks or textbooks that explain practical techniques and detailed processes which business owners and marketers can directly apply for their own brand analysis and brand development or rebranding. Though if there are some books on branding theory that are considered definitive, then I'd be open to those as well.
For a recent book that's broad, engaging, and gives enough guidelines, checklists, and action points to be immediately useful, I'd recommend Zag: The #1 Strategy of High Performance Brands. It is much more enjoyable to use than marketing textbook-classics like Kotler's, though you may want to read those too if you need to talk to business-school people.
Here's the 17-step/question process Zag will take you through:
As a final note, I've yet to see a better treatment of how to name your brand than is presented in the book. Here's their list of 7 name guidelines; the ideal name is,
Hope that helps!
Kellog on Branding by Tim Calkins and Alice Tybout is a branding classic, along with the already mentioned Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
A less known marketing book that I can't say enough good things about is Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal About the Minds of Consumers, by Gerald and Lindsey Zaltman. This book had me thinking much deeper about branding than anything I have read before.