- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (January 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 111861125X
- ISBN-13: 978-1118611258
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 96 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest Hardcover – January 7, 2014
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Q&A with Denise Lee Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do
How will What Great Brands Do help us run better businesses?
Too many companies waste time, energy, and money on advertising and marketing their brands, only to have their efforts fall short. I want to show a different and more effective and sustainable way to build a brand—the way the greatest brands do.
What differentiates a great brand from a merely good one?
Most traditional branding efforts create an image to serve as the "face" of a company-a look and tagline to promote a business, or a new advertising or social media campaign to reinvigorate it—but these activities simply serve to express a brand. Great brands execute their brands, elevating the brand from an external-facing message to a strategic tool for managing the business. They use their brand to shape their culture, focus their core operations, and design their customer experiences. This brand-as-business approach has proven to be far more effective than "branding."
What can stand in the way of implementing the brand-as-business approach?
Some business leaders think of brands only in terms of messages and marketing tactics because that's all they know. Others want a quick fix and would rather change what they say about themselves rather than actually change. Still others understand the full business value of a brand but lack the tools and methods to realize it. What Great Brands Do will educate the first group, persuade the second, and equip the last.
Why is rethinking our approach to brand-building so critical today?
In practically every sector, competition is intensifying. Companies must differentiate themselves in substantive ways and deliver real value to customers. At the same time, those consumers are savvier than ever, and they're equipped with tools that enable them to see beneath a veneer that a company puts up. Image and reality must be closely aligned. Finally, advertising budgets are getting squeezed, but expectations for brand awareness and preference remain. The solution to all of these pressures is an integral brand strategy.
Who needs to read this book?
What Great Brands Do is for CEOs, COOs, entrepreneurs, and other leaders—people who have the responsibility, and the desire, to grow their organizations. My book challenges the conventional rhetoric about brands and teaches the most essential brand-building principles and tools for running a better business.
Yohn, a branding consultant and speaker, with an all-star clientlist that includes Sony, Frito-Lay, and Burger King, knows exactlywhat it takes to raise a brand to the top and keep it there. Hereshe shares techniques that can elevate a brand to icon status. Sheexplores how a great company can avoid obsolescence by using itsbrand as a management tool to fuel, align, and guide its people andinitiatives. The eponymous seven brand-building principles are eachgiven a chapter: start with a brand-building corporate culture;ignore trends; don't chase customers; commit and stay committed;and avoid selling products. Yohn's exercises, tools, and actionsteps will help elevate the conversation and undoubtedly enhanceany company’s focus on branding. In addition to case studiesthat feature Google, Trader Joe's, IBM, and Shake Shack, Yohnprovides her most valuable recommendations in her "Brand asBusiness" chapter, which ties together the seven principles andshows how to integrate them to produce growth and brand strength.Yohn's book is helpful reading for executives and managers at alllevels, and it will guide the next generation of great brands.(Jan.) (Publishers Weekly, December 2013)
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Now that the definition of the word "brand" is clear in my mind, I am ready for step two: Practical ways on how to begin achieving that. This book does not really address the practical aspect of things but then this is not the main subject of the book. I love the title because it sums up the entire book in 4 short words "What Great Brands Do".
I highly recommend this to anybody who is interested in starting his own brand or who already owns a brand and seeks to add value to it. This is also a great book for marketers.
They start inside
Avoid selling products
Don’t chase customers
Sweat the small stuff
Commit and stay committed
Never had to “give back”
This book provides both strategic and tactical ideas on how to build a great brand.
If it were just theory, it would weaken the concepts. But Denise takes her idea of operationalizing marketing and provides tools to help make it core to the culture of a company.
Operationalizing marketing is a vital and important phrase in the book. It means that a company lives the brand in every part of a company. It is an idea not embraced by many companies where they think brands are solely the function of the marketing department. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marketing may be charged with communicating brand messages, but a company has to live its brand in everything it does. That includes logistics, quality, customer service, sales, operations, finance and on and on.
What I enjoyed in this book is that it is so counter intuitive.
It takes the obvious and flips it on its head, not to be provocative but to help make clear how brands can be frameworks and guideposts for companies. Yohn cites specific and clear examples of successes and failures throughout the book to illustrate her ideas.
Goodbye Kodak Moment
I love her explanation of what really went wrong at Kodak, a company that mattered a lot to me in my formative years. They were first to get digital. They had the technology. They recognized the threat to their film business.
They just didn’t fully embrace how digital needed to be operationalized as part of the new Kodak brand culture. They never snapped into it changing the mindset of the company from an analog (film) business to a company based on the new world of digital photography.
Companies like Amazon exemplify this notion of operationalizing a brand throughout the company. Their anthem is to be the most customer centric company in the world. Every decision, every day by every employee passes through this filter. If it doesn’t provide this benefit to their customers, then it is off brand. This isn’t coming from a marketing department but lives and breathes in every nook and cranny of the Amazon organization.
A brand isn’t a logo or the colors on a package. A brand represent the real benefit derived by a company and is valued by the community they serve. Companies like Lululemon are dissected to help you understand why they behave the way they do – setting high retail prices with very fast turning inventory. They understand a core insight about their consumers that lives within the company’s brand and once again, isn’t a marketing function.
I read a lot of marketing and general business management books to challenge my thinking and to give me insights into why companies behave the way they do. Yohn’s book offers a clear framework for thinking about brands today and I’d highly recommend.
Perhaps my favorite quote from the book comes toward the end. She makes the succinct point that it doesn’t really matter what you say your brand is all about – ultimately it is what you do that matters.
This book delivers on its promise and I'd urge those interested in business and marketing management to buy and read this well-written book.