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Denise Lee Yohn      

Brand-Building Expert & Author, What Great Brands Do

Denise Lee Yohn is the go-to expert on brand leadership for national media outlets, an in-demand keynote speaker and consultant, and an influential writer.

Denise is the author of the bestselling books What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest (JosseyBass), Extraordinary Experiences: What Great Retail and Restaurant Brands Do, and FUSION: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World's Greatest Companies (Nicholas Brealey/Hachette Books).

With her expertise and inspiring approach, Denise has become an in-demand keynote speaker on building great brands and exceptional organizations. She has addressed business leaders around the world at corporate events such as Facebook, NFL, and Lexus, and conferences including International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), The Art of Marketing, and Sustainable Brands.

News media including CNBC, FOX Business TV, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR call on Denise when they want an expert point-of-view on hot business issues.

Denise enjoys challenging executives to think differently about brand leadership in her regular contributions to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Smartbrief on Leadership, and has been a sought-after writer for publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and [email protected] among others.

Denise initially cultivated her brand-building approaches through several high-level positions in advertising and client-side marketing. She served as lead strategist at advertising agencies for Burger King and Land Rover and as the marketing leader and analyst for Jack in the Box restaurants and Spiegel catalogs. Denise went on to head Sony Electronic Inc.’s first ever brand office, where she was the vice president/general manager of brand and strategy and garnered major corporate awards. Consulting clients have included Target, Oakley, Dunkin' Donuts, and other leading companies.

Outside of her professional roles, Denise counts hiking to Everest Base Camp, dancing with a professional ballet company, and solo-flying a helicopter as some of her greatest life experiences.

Speech Topics

What Great Brands Do

From Starbucks to IBM to Zumba, great brands are admired for their bold moves and innovative approaches. But what really separates merely good brands from those that triumph over time and achieve sustained business success?

In this keynote address, brand expert Denise Lee Yohn unlocks the principles behind the world’s greatest brands. Drawing from case studies, analysis, and interviews with brand leaders, she explains best practices including “great brands avoid selling products” and “great brands never have to ‘give back’” – and shows how top companies develop standout brands that foster customer loyalty and increase profit margins.

Participants will be challenged to think differently about their brands and businesses and inspired to go from good to great by applying fresh strategies.

Start-Ups Need a Minimum Viable Brand

How do start-ups launch a strong, differentiated brand while acting fast, being agile, and staying lean? The Minimum Viable Brand (MVB) framework provides the foundation for getting traction for your brand in a crowded, cluttered marketplace. Learn the 6 “What’s” that every start-up must answer -- and discover how the entrepreneurs at start-up successes including Evernote and Uber have built powerful, profitable brands.

Rethinking Corporate Social Responsibility: Use Level 5 Relevance to Create Shared Value

Today’s consumers are increasingly demanding that companies have an overall beneficial impact on society. But rather than simply writing checks or donating food to good causes, companies can become a force for positive change while enhancing their customer appeal and long-term competitiveness.

Business advisor Denise Lee Yohn introduces a framework that will help you develop social efforts that achieve “Level 5 Relevance,” with consumers, employees, investors, suppliers and beyond, to build your brand, strengthen your business, and improve your bottom line. Learn:

  • Fresh perspectives on consumers’ new expectations and how companies are meeting them
  • A 5-step process for achieving relevance with all your stakeholders
  • How to impact your bottom line and grow your brand by creating shared value


What Great Brands Do

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