What Makes a Great Brand with Denise Lee Yohn


November 2, 2015

denise lee yohn

“Your brand can’t just be a promise. It must be a promise delivered.” Denise Lee Yohn knows a thing or two about great brands. Specifically, What Great Brands Do — the title of her best-selling book. The follow-up Extraordinary Experiences examines the principles of her first book at work in the restaurant and retail industry. I couldn’t wait to discuss great brands, extraordinary experiences, and more this week with Denise Lee Yohn.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Denise Lee Yohn

Blending a fresh perspective, twenty-five years of experience working with world-class brands including Sony and Frito-Lay, and a talent for inspiring audiences, Denise Lee Yohn is a leading authority on building and positioning exceptional brands. Denise is the author of the bestselling book What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest (Jossey-Bass) and the new book Extraordinary Experiences: What Great Retail and Restaurant Brands Do.

Episode Highlights

The Brand-as-Business approach. While branding and brand building is usually relegated to a slot on the org chart under marketing, Denise has a different idea. Her approach is focused on the brand driving everything. We often get too narrow when focusing on branding. “Logos are great extensions and expressions of the brand but we have to look beyond external image and message.”

Building great brand experiences isn’t always adding things. Much can be gained from subtraction and simplicity. This is especially true of branding in small businesses. More isn’t always better.

You can’t be everything to everyone. As Denise notes in What Great Brands Do and Extraordinary Experiences, great brands like Costco and Red Bull don’t chase customers. The focus on their core audience.

FREE BRANDING RESOURCE ALERT! Denise has a brand assessment, a brand touchpoint wheel, and more available as free downloads for brand builders over at deniseleeyohn.com.

What brand has made Denise smile recently? “Starbucks! I know I’m not supposed to say that …” However, her favorite seasonal latte served in a magical fall cup delivered with friendly service had her beaming. Talk about extraordinary experiences!

To learn more about Denise and her books you can follow her on Twitter or check out her site at deniseleeyohn.com.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our listeners …
Sean Carpenter gave us a shout on Twitter about our recent episode focused on brand constraints and creativity featuring Joe Pulizzi. Thanks for listening!

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.

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


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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