Finding the Epicenter of Branding and Culture with Dennis Hahn


May 27, 2019

dennis hahn on brand

“Brand and culture are two weird words that are getting put together more and more.” This week on the On Brand podcast, we explore these two words—brand and culture—and how to activate them in the creation of meaningful brand experiences with Dennis Hahn, chief strategy officer at Liquid.

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About Dennis Hahn

As chief strategy officer at Liquid, Dennis Hahn is responsible for the methodologies that Liquid uses to address the strategic challenges of our clients. Dennis leads teams of strategists across all of Liquid’s offices, providing expertise, mentoring and consulting on a wide range of significant strategic branding initiatives for clients that include John Deere, HP, Microsoft, Motorola, Nasdaq, PayPal and Walmart.

Prior to joining Liquid, Dennis spent 10 years as the president and chief strategy officer of ID Branding, a multi-disciplinary agency that grows meaningful brands for consumers and employees. It was here that he worked closely with cultural anthropologists to pioneer methods that help organizations enculturate their brands with their employees and customers. Working with the leadership teams of companies like Microsoft, Intel, Symantec, SAIF and Mercy, Dennis has provided his expertise to create alignment and commitment to organization-wide brand culture programs.

Dennis holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Portland State University. He was also an adjunct professor at PSU for eight years, where he taught strategy through the university’s Professional Development Center. Dennis has spoken at numerous conferences about branding and strategy and has written on the subject of brand culture.

Episode Highlights

The epicenter of branding and culture. “Today the new power trio in brand culture is the CMO, the CHRO, and the CEO.” Together this group needs to lead the creation of a culture platform that aligns with the brand platform.

“You said the A word.” When Dennis mentioned authenticity, I asked how we can better tackle this buzzword. “The ‘90s was really the golden era of modern branding with the Nike ads … In the 2000s the internet exposed what brands were doing.” Today brands have to walk the talk.

What’s swarming? Once I heard the name of Liquid’s signature brand development process I had to know more. “If design thinking and Lean Startup had a baby it would be our process. We get a bunch of minds together to swarm the problem.” This leads to divergent thinking and innovative solutions.

What brand has made Dennis smile recently? “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Alaskan Airlines. I don’t know about you but I never smile when I get on airplanes but I’ve loved seeing this brand evolve.”

To learn more, go to the Liquid agency website, connect with Dennis on LinkedIn, and, for extra fun, check out his mixology website vivalacocktail.com.

As We Wrap …

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

On Brand is sponsored by my new book Brand NowDiscover the seven dynamics to help your brand stand out in our crowded, distracted world. Order now and get special digital extras. Learn more.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.




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