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Fusion

How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies

By Denise Lee Yohn
16-minute read
Audio available
Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies by Denise Lee Yohn

Fusion (2018) advises businesses to bring together two corporate realms that are often regarded as separate: brand and culture. If fused into one, these two areas can create a new and powerful driving force in any business.

  • Managers, business experts and consultants
  • Branding and human-resources employees
  • Leaders curious to know how strong culture can propel a business to new heights

Denise Lee Yohn, a brand-building and brand-leadership expert, is a business consultant, keynote speaker and influential business author. A regular contributor to Harvard Business Review and Forbes, she is also the author of What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest.

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Fusion

How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies

By Denise Lee Yohn
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies by Denise Lee Yohn
Synopsis

Fusion (2018) advises businesses to bring together two corporate realms that are often regarded as separate: brand and culture. If fused into one, these two areas can create a new and powerful driving force in any business.

Key idea 1 of 10

When a company’s external brand merges with its internal culture, you get fusion.

All light on earth, and very nearly all heat, is generated by a star that’s almost 100 million miles away: the sun. It takes astronomical amounts of energy to produce such heat and brightness, and yet the sun, like a cosmic light bulb, remains undimmed despite billions of years of burning. So where does this energy come from?

The answer is simple: nuclear fusion. When the nuclei of two separate atoms fuse and become one – in the sun’s case, hydrogen nuclei are constantly fusing, thus forming helium – a massive amount of energy is released.

But the power of fusion isn’t limited to physics and the energy production of celestial bodies. It can also be applied to business.

For most businesses, company brand and company culture are distinct – two atoms that, though close to one another, never fully merge. Such businesses may do well enough, but they won’t achieve cosmic success until they move beyond this model and harness the power of brand–culture fusion.

Amazon, a star-like company if ever there was one, uses fusion to maintain its position at the center of the consumer-goods universe.

How so, you ask?

Well, think about what defines Amazon’s external brand. It’s famous for its ruthless pursuit of innovative ways to provide a superior customer experience, right?

Now think about its internal culture. Amazon isn’t shy about broadcasting its rough-and-tumble modus operandi, using words like “bruising,” “relentless” and “burn and churn” to describe its approach to internal processes.

It’s certainly survival of the fittest at Amazon, which isn’t an ideal environment for everyone, and yet this interior culture of “purposeful Darwinism” is as tactical as it is taxing. Indeed, it aligns exactly with Amazon’s external brand: they will relentlessly pursue opportunities to deliver the superior customer experiences that their brand promises, creating the brand–culture fusion that generates the company’s sun-like power.

The fusion of brand and culture guarantees three major benefits:

First, it aligns your employees by making the company objective crystal clear. With everyone pursuing this objective, and no one working at cross-purposes, your company’s efficiency will improve significantly.

Second, it gives you a competitive edge. The competition may be able to imitate what you do (which is a matter of branding), but they’ll have a harder time reproducing how you do it, let alone why, since these are about culture.

Third, by making your company inimitable, brand–culture fusion also makes it authentic – and authenticity is what will give you credibility in the eyes of your customers.

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