Jossey-Bass Releases Denise Yohn's WHAT GREAT BRANDS DO
Ask a CEO or leader to define a "brand," and they will often turn to the usual suspects: tagline, logo, advertising, public relations, social media. Traditionally, brands have been understood in this way - as outward-facing, image-focused expressions, confining the stewardship of the brand to marketing and advertising. But today's most successful and iconic companies - think Zappos, Starbucks, and Nike - have one critical attribute in common: they have elevated brand-building from a siloed function and use their brand as a strategic management tool that guides every aspect of their business. And they have achieved higher-than-average profit margins as a result.
In her new book WHAT GREAT BRANDS DO: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest (Jossey-Bass; January 27, 2014), brand-building consultant and speaker Denise Lee Yohn proves that a company's brand is its most powerful tool for growth, and offers business leaders, owners, and general managers seven principles and powerful tools for putting the brand where it belongs: in the driver's seat of the organization.
Yohn's "brand-as-business" approach - the systematic management of the business around the brand - works, yet a recent survey of marketing executives revealed that 64% feel that their brands do not influence decisions made at their companies. This means that nearly two-thirds of companies are pouring millions of dollars into marketing and advertising without aligning their business strategies with the values and attributes they're communicating. And the current brand thought leadership is not closing this gap, because most "best practices" focus narrowly on expressing the brand through advertising or design, marketing it through new media, or managing it through culture and employee engagement. The concept of using a brand as an operating tool has yet to be widely embraced at the highest levels of business. In WHAT GREAT BRANDS DO, Yohn seeks to shift this mindset by demonstrating how a brand-as-business approach fuels growth by driving culture, company operations, and customer experiences.
Yohn's approach is based on 25 years of success helping companies build and position exceptional brands. After serving as lead strategist at advertising agencies for Burger King and Land Rover and as the marketing analyst for Jack-in-the-Box and Spiegel catalogs, Yohn went on to head Sony Electonics Inc.'s first ever brand office. During her time as vice president/general manager of brand and strategy, Yohn garnered major corporate awards, but she also experienced firsthand how even the strongest of companies can lose their advantage when the brand -building is relegated to marketing tactics. Yohn worked at Sony during the height of the digital transition, and watched Sony's brand strength begin to weaken as fast followers and pioneering disruptors began to challenge it on pricing and innovation. She and her colleagues knew they needed to find new ways to leverage Sony's brand value, but they faced the same hurdles that so many corporate leaders still face today: how to recognize the early warning signs in time, think differently, challenge ingrained ways of doing things that may have worked in the past, and make tough changes, even if it means replacing tested best practices with new principles.
WHAT GREAT BRANDS DO is the playbook Yohn wishes she and her colleagues had had to help them leverage Sony's brand to face the business challenges of their time. She has since used the "brand-as-business" approach to build, position, and extend iconic brands in a number of industries and the same principles have been proven out by the experiences of some of the best companies in the world. Drawing on first-hand case studies, practical tools, and examples of iconic brands as varied as IBM, Patagonia, and Shake Shack, Yohn introduces the seven principles that epitomize great brands: