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Tattoos, Not Brands

An Entrepreneur's Guide To Smart Marketing and Business Building

Published by Indigo River Publishing
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
LIST PRICE $21.95
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About The Book

“…illuminates one of the most misunderstood aspects of launching a company and should allow countless entrepreneurs to sleep better at night. — Scott Stedman, serial entrepreneur and author of Mouse, a novel. (Greenleaf Book Group)

Before you start your business, before you spend a dime on marketing or hire another brand strategist, you need to consider something: You don’t have a brand. 

Everyone from aspiring entrepreneurs to seasoned business titans believes in the power of branding. But the truth is, most businesses, nonprofits, charities, and social movements aren’t brands. They are tattoos. 

Unlike market-driven brands, tattoos are mission-driven. And if you have a tattoo, approaching marketing from a brand mindset will prove–inevitably–unsuccessful. 

Drawing upon research, psychology, and decades of experience, Tattoos, Not Brands: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Smart Marketing and Business Building offers an innovative approach to marketing. It includes simple steps to prepare for success and identify the approach to marketing that will best work for you and your vision.

Each chapter concludes with a few simple questions or exercises to help you discover the right tattoo for your business.

In Tattoos, Not Brands, you’ll learn: 

  • The tried and true foundational basics of marketing and how to make them work for your unique business or endeavor 
  • Identify your tattoo type and how to achieve authenticity with your customers and clients
  • How to show off your tattoo and bring it to market–successfully


“A must-read for anyone who is looking to grow a business, organization, or movement. Full of smart practical guidance that reverberates universally—from luxury goods to social impact and everything in between.” — Avenue Magazine

About The Author

Clint White has 30 years of experience with marketing, often in extremely challenging circumstances. In addition to his role as a marketing consultant, he's a teacher, advisor, investor, writer and business-builder who leads campaign strategies for innovative, dynamic businesses and nonprofit social impact organizations.

Recognized as a Crain's New York Business Top Entrepreneur, he was also presented with a Communication Arts Award of Excellence, several Tellys, a Leadership Award for driving social change through media at the Social Impact Summit at the United Nations. In addition, he also served as an advisor to the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement on Social Impact Media.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Indigo River Publishing (July 5, 2022)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781954676176

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Raves and Reviews

“An empathetic, insightful, and practical guide for all those businesses that aren’t household names.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“An instant classic! In Tattoos, Not Brands, Clint White offers up fresh, no nonsense marketing insights articulated in easy to follow actionable steps for evaluating and establishing your organization or business's authentic image and optimal value proposition for maximum success. As an independent creative and nonprofit administrator, I found Mr. White's focus on identifying and putting one's uniqueness front and center to be both refreshing and instructive. A real game changing mindset in my approach to both current and potential clients or customers.”

– Arian Blanco, Artist and Co-founder HExTC, Inc.

A great read. This is a book today’s marketers and entrepreneurs will want to get their hands on—whether they are starting out or think they have seen it all—there’s something for everyone in Tattoos, Not Brands.” 

– Jeff Randazzo, Media Executive

“If you feel like you are hitting a roadblock with your marketing, Clint White’s Tattoos Not Brands will help you overcome them. White will take you by the hand and walk you through a new take on classic marketing tactics. Updating the traditional concept of the marketing mix and the fours P’s, Product, Place, Price, and Promotion, this book will guide you through how to look at your brand from a new perspective. Case studies, examples, and exercises will lead you to fresh ideas.  White pulls from decades of his own experience in updating and deploying new marketing strategies for iconic institutions. Learn from this marketing master, and as his classic tagline says, “Love it, Hate It, but don’t Miss It” Tattoos Not Brands is an unfading toolkit for the modern marketer.

– Patrick Dolan, former President and COO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

The Tattoos Not Brands concept is intuitive and powerful. The book is approachable and reframes some foundational ideas about best practices marketing in a digestible way. The text flows easily with insights dropping left and right backed up by the author’s personal experiences on what actually works and doesn’t. Although my career has largely been supported by Brand, my responsibilities demand product marketing where, it turns out, I’m actually creating tattoos. This is a worthwhile read with lots to take away and apply directly to real-world situations.”

– David Henstock, Head of Identity, Visa

Tattoos, Not Brands strikes me as the type of book that will resonate well across sectors. The mindset of a tattoo can be extremely liberating and helpful whether you are a business, non-profit, politician, influencer, or leading a movement. It’s easy to say ‘I need to be a brand in order to be successful’, but the hard and smart work, as the author asserts, is in understanding and gaining proficiency in fundamentals of marketing. This book elegantly walks through how to do it, step by step, to position you for success.

– Sonja Nesbit, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation at the U.S. Department of Health

“In his new book, Tattoos, Not Brands, Clint White provides a step-by-step approach to identifying your target market, quantifying it, and then selling to it as a ‘Tattoo’ rather than competing against far wealthier and better-established ‘Brands.’ Smaller brands, especially new entries in a market, often struggle to articulate their benefits to multiple audiences. But a ‘tattoo’ understands that who they are is not half as important as who their user is, how they want to feel, and what problems they need solved. Consumers buy bananas that are Rainforest Alliance-certified because it feels better than buying ones that are not. They buy products and services they believe in and trust, because they like the way doing so makes them feel. While acknowledging that to ignore the fundamentals is an enormous mistake, ‘Tattoos’ shows you how to hack the system to avoid waste and inefficiencies. The perfect book for the aspiring entrepreneur, or any small business.

– Robert Grede, best-selling author of Naked Marketing: The Bare Essentials

Tattoos, Not Brands is an insightful and throughly enjoyable ride through the journey of creating great marketing experiences. Clint’s own experiences are tremendously invaluable in bringing to life concepts that are applicable across industries and pretty much all walks of life. Highly recommended for anyone trying to create and communicate world-class customer experiences, and dealing with all the challenges of modern marketing.”

– Kabir Sethi, Head of Digital Wealth Management, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

“In Tattoos, Not Brands, Clint recounts his storied career from being Whitney Museum of American Art’s first marketing lead to becoming the first marketing agency owner named a Crain’s New York Business Top Entrepreneur.  He shares wisdom that’s been valuable throughout my career at Forbes, Kickstarter, and working with dozens of New York City’s finest founders as Director of Marketing at Primary VC. His embrace of freedom, expression, and practicality make for nimble brand strategies that don't just speak to target audiences but rather engage with and build true communities.”

– Katheryn Thayer, Director of Marketing at Primary VC

“An amazing first book. Well-written, thought provoking, and a practical guide that creators, designers, entrepreneurs, marketers and others can really use and apply. I really enjoyed how the author put it all together—a real gem.”

– Steven Alexander, Healthcare Executive

“Clint White's refreshing new take on growth marketing is so smart. This book resets expectations on brand-building and instead offers marketers realistic, actionable tactics to drive results. Tattoos, Not Brands is an enjoyable read as well as a reference book every ambitious organization and dynamic small business should keep handy.”

– Ben Bilbrough, Founder and CEO Addy.co

“Clint's insight is very specific to a small business owner like me. It helped me to focus on separating myself and services in a huge medical service based industry. My physical therapy practice is at a critical stage–‘to grow or not to grow.’ Contemplating scaling up but how to not lose what has worked thus far in regards to patient satisfaction and retention is my main take away.”

– Dr. Frank J. Ruggiero, Owner, Integrative Physical Therapy of NYC, Retired NYC Firefighter

“Clint White gives marketers — especially those of us in the nonprofit arts world — a dose of reality, along with new tools to build relationships with audiences. Drawing on successful examples from his career in the arts, White guides the reader to an understanding of why people will buy in, not just buy a ticket.”

– Pia Catton, Director of Development, Battery Dance; former Wall Street Journal Reporter

“Tattoos, Not Brands is a must-read for entrepreneurs. It inspires creative thinking about how to build connection, and better yet, provides a road map to bring that thinking to life. White’s passion is infectious as he rigorously explains both the why and how to build intimacy and connection between companies and their community of customers–and why that's the key ingredient to launching a successful startup. The strategic marketing frameworks presented in Tattoos, Not Brands illuminates one of the most misunderstood aspects of launching a company and should allow countless entrepreneurs to sleep better at night.

– Scott Stedman, serial entrepreneur and author of Mouse, a novel. (Greenleaf Book Group)

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