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What Great Brands Do

The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest

By Denise Lee Yohn
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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What Great Brands Do by Denise Lee Yohn

In What Great Brands Do, author Denise Lee Yohn draws on her over twenty-five years of experience in brand-building to demystify the branding process. You’ll discover the main principles that have made brands such as Nike, Apple and Starbucks such iconic household names.

Key idea 1 of 10

A brand is the personality of a business, and it should guide a company’s every action.

Everyone recognizes contemporary brand superstars, like Apple, Nike and Zappos. So how did these brands become universally recognized household names?

Many people might believe that brand-building is just a matter of experimentation, good timing and sheer luck. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Great brands achieve their iconic status when a company understands its brand and how it should influence the everyday running of the business.

A brand is much more than just the impression people have of your company and your product. A brand is the personality of your business, and therefore should shine through everything your company does.

Successful brands understand that people don’t just buy products based on a rational analysis of price and quality, but instead consider the feelings and values they associate with a brand. Having a coffee at Starbucks, for example, is not just about getting your morning caffeine fix. It’s also about the store’s sensory experience – the music, the furniture or the employees’ smiles – that you notice every time you walk through the front door.

But great brands also enjoy other benefits. One is that a company can enjoy higher profit margins. A study by the strategy consultancy Vivaldi Partners showed that customers are willing to pay higher prices for brand-name products than for other products.

Another benefit is that companies with a strong brand tend to have an easier time aligning their organization to a set of values. This is because a brand can be used like a strategic compass, guiding the company at large as to how it should build its corporate culture, design processes and craft marketing campaigns.

This is why Starbucks would never compromise the customer’s in-store experience, for example, by buying cheaper furniture. Even though the company could save costs in the short-term, such a decision would not be in line with the company’s brand.

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