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What Great Brands Do : The Seven Brand-Building...

Denise and I first connected via Twitter in 2010 over our shared interest in the customer experience. (Denise regularly inspires me with her many insights about great brands that delight customers.) We met in person at Columbia Business School's BRITE'11 conference in NYC and exchanged guest blog articles shortly thereafter. Here is hers about REI - another great brand you'll learn more about in her book: REI Makes Choosing Easy By Denise Lee Yohn.

What Great Brands Do : The Seven Brand-Building...

Culture is the necessary first step when you want to define or re-define your brand because culture is what ensures your employees understand and embrace what your brand stands for and understand their roles in interpreting and reinforcing your brand. So great brands rally their people around common cultural values and use their brands to focus, align, and optimize the inner workings of their organizations.

As great brands work to execute brand strategy, they know who they are and commit to their values and mission. The customer is factored into the brand, product and service. A great brand sweats the small stuff at every touchpoint of the design to create a memorable customer experience, which in turn creates long-term loyalty. By defining their values and attributes, they build their brand on their long-term image and engage with their most-trusted consumer base. The commitment to their strategies deliver long-term value and sustainability, and they become influential in positive social change.

Great brands have the same business goals as most companies do: long-term customer loyalty, retention, and satisfaction that generate a continuing revenue stream from existing customers. But great brands achieve their goals by forging personal and meaningful bonds with customers. An emotional connection is the most powerful switching cost.

Instead of working on their image and message, great brands are focused on culture, core operations, and customer experience. They actually put off communicating externally. They turn to advertising, promotions, and public relations only after all other elements of the brand have been developed and aligned, including product development and customer experience. This is how they fuel faster growth, cultivate stronger corporate cultures, and develop superior stakeholder relationships.

In Fusion, Denise Lee Yohn examines some of the world's greatest organisations and reverse engineers their greatness - specifically how they've integrated what's on the inside (culture) with what's on the outside (brand) for remarkable results....

Through her expertise and personal approach, Denise has become an in-demand keynote speaker, inspiring business leaders around the world to build great brands and exceptional organizations. Her keynote presentations have captivated international audiences at conferences including TEDx, the Consumer Electronics Show, The Art of Marketing, the National Restaurant Show, and American Marketing Association, among others, and at corporate events for Facebook, Lexus, eBay, and more. Denise enjoys challenging readers to think differently about brand leadership. It was with that goal in mind that she has written several books including the bestseller What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest and the new book FUSION: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World's Greatest Companies.

IC: Tell me about your book. You identify seven principles that separate the best from the rest. Can you discuss the principles briefly?DLY: In my research, I identified the seven most distinctive, defining characteristics or principles of what great brands do:

New market conditions require your brand to be more authentic, powerful, and valuable than ever before. The bestselling author of What Great Brands Do, Denise Lee Yohn shows audiences how great brands inspire trust, establish competitive advantage, and lead their field.

"Companies with great brands conceive of their brands as complete strategic platforms. They identify the key values and attributes that define their brands and then use them to fuel, align, and guide everything they do."

And yet some brands continue to grow in size, profit margin, and customer fan base. We all know the big ones: Apple, Starbucks, IBM. Even smaller companies like Shake Shack and Chobani have managed to create great brands.

At the same time, technological advantage and quality superiority have become much more difficult for companies to sustain. Therefore business leaders are seeking to establish brand differentiation on something other than product features and efficacy. Managers of great brands shape their brand identities with emotional values that differentiate their offerings and facilitate deep connections with customers.

The leaders of great brands recognize that these entities, like their employees, can build their brand or they can weaken it, so they extend culture building to all their stakeholders. They are willing to trade confidentiality for a common cultural bond and common goals, so they share their brand strategies and priorities with everyone who works for or with their company. They invest in training and tools to ensure their partners are aligned and engaged with the brand.

The fundamental difference between building great brands and old-style branding becomes clearer every day. With the dramatic changes in the economy and ground-breaking developments in technology and communications, old-style branding may be dead. But brands are now more important than ever. 041b061a72


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