I heard Denise Lee Yohn on Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels ofSeparation podcast last month. She was promoting her new book, What Great
Brands Do and it piqued my interest.
Denise's marketing book unravels seven principles that demonstrate what the great
Commit and stay
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
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.
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
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.
Reading is what great brand leaders do.
Labels: Amazon, book reviews, Books, Denise Lee Yohn, Kodak, Lululemon, marketing, Marketing Moments, Mitch Joel, operationalizing marketing, What Great Brands Do