What Great Brands Do | Denise Lee Yohn

Summary of: What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest
By: Denise Lee Yohn


Embark on a journey to discover the secrets behind the world’s most successful brands with ‘What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest’ by Denise Lee Yohn. Delve into the fundamental principles that guide these iconic brands, learn how they achieve higher profit margins, and explore the importance of aligning corporate culture with brand values. This book will guide you through the significance of an emotional connection between the brand and the customer, while shedding light on why blindly following trends or chasing after every customer can be detrimental to your brand’s success. Equip yourself with the brand-building strategies discussed in this summary, and elevate your brand to new heights.

The Power of Branding

Successful brands are not just built on experimentation and luck, but through a comprehensive understanding of brand personality and its influence on everyday business operations. A strong brand is more than just a product, it encompasses the personality of the business and shines through in all aspects of the company. By understanding that consumers associate feelings and values with a brand, successful companies, like Starbucks, have been able to align their organization with a set of values that guide and direct their corporate culture, design processes, and marketing campaigns. In addition to the intangible benefits of a strong brand, companies can enjoy increased profit margins, as customers are willing to pay higher prices for recognized brand-name products. Overall, companies that prioritize brand-building as a key component of business strategy can reap significant long-term benefits for both the company and the consumer.

The Importance of Brand Alignment

A brand is not just for advertising purposes but also crucial for a company’s internal culture. When corporate culture is aligned with brand values, employees work better together towards a common goal, ultimately benefiting the brand. Brand values should also extend to a company’s stakeholders, including suppliers and sales representatives. Any inconsistencies or gaps between a company’s brand values and their organization need to be addressed through education, such as the use of brand toolboxes and engagement sessions. Brand toolboxes, such as decks of cards or little books, serve as quick references for employees to apply brand values in their everyday work. Meanwhile, brand engagement sessions help employees understand how brand values influence every aspect of the business by visualizing the journey of a product. Ensuring alignment between internal culture and brand values allows the brand to shine its light on prospective customers, increasing its efficacy.

Emotional Branding

Successful branding is about emotions, not products. It’s about creating an emotional connection between the brand and the customer. Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign evoked a powerful emotional response by featuring athletes talking about their emotions and accomplishments. The campaign was not about sneakers, but about brand values. Connecting with customers on an emotional level is possible through empathetic research, which allows businesses to get as close as possible to the private lives of their customers. One example of empathetic research in action is Pampers, which discovered that mothers cared more about their babies’ comfort than keeping their bottoms dry. Pampers then developed diapers designed for better sleep, which led to an increase in sales.

Creating a Trend-Setting Brand

Building a successful brand is not about following current trends, but about creating your own.

Many believe that building a great brand involves following the latest trends. However, this is a risky endeavor because trends change quickly, and trying to keep up can compromise a brand’s integrity. Instead of following trends set by competitors, businesses should create their own.

One way to do this is by challenging existing trends and questioning commonly accepted industry dogmas. For example, Chipotle took a different approach to the fast-food industry by using high-quality ingredients and paying higher salaries to staff. This decision led to the chain’s success despite its pricier offerings compared to competitors.

Another way to create your own trend is by anticipating and taking advantage of cultural movements. Starbucks successfully did this by anticipating that people in American society were seeking a third place between home and work, and designed their stores to fill that gap.

When brands follow trends set by competitors, they put themselves in a comparative position and are seen as mere followers. Instead, companies should strive to innovate and differentiate themselves by creating their own trends. By doing so, brands can become leaders in their industries and build a loyal customer base.

Don’t Chase Every Customer

Learn how focusing on core customers and needs-based segmentation can strengthen your brand’s identity and attract loyal customers.

Blindly following the latest trends and trying to appeal to everyone can compromise your brand’s integrity. Instead, focus on core customers and use needs-based segmentation to understand their needs and align them with your brand identity. This means selecting needs that correspond to your brand and targeting your ideal customers during the times when those needs are strongest.

For example, a snack manufacturer used needs-based segmentation to discover that people wanted an energetic and healthy snack in the morning to “pump up for the day.” This fit perfectly with the brand’s values of “being healthy and fun,” and the next product campaign revolved around the slogan “pump up.” By doing this, the brand attracted loyal customers and stakeholders.

Trying to please everyone can result in a boring brand, with detractors no matter what you do. Instead, brands with personality and integrity will always attract loyal customers. The founder of Red Bull understood this well and even encouraged rumors that Red Bull was a dangerous drug. He believed it was equally important that teachers hated his brand as it was that students loved it.

In summary, focusing on core customers and needs-based segmentation can strengthen your brand’s identity and attract loyal customers. Don’t chase every customer, but instead understand their needs and align them with your brand values.

Want to read the full book summary?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed