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What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest

What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest [Kindle Edition]

Denise Lee Yohn
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


Yohn, a branding consultant and speaker, with an all–star client list that includes Sony, Frito–Lay, and Burger King, knows exactly what it takes to raise a brand to the top and keep it there. Here she shares techniques that can elevate a brand to icon status. She explores how a great company can avoid obsolescence by using its brand as a management tool to fuel, align, and guide its people and initiatives. The eponymous seven brand–building principles are each given a chapter: start with a brand–building corporate culture; ignore trends; don′t chase customers; commit and stay committed; and avoid selling products. Yohn′s exercises, tools, and action steps will help elevate the conversation and undoubtedly enhance any company’s focus on branding. In addition to case studies that feature Google, Trader Joe′s, IBM, and Shake Shack, Yohn provides her most valuable recommendations in her "Brand as Business" chapter, which ties together the seven principles and shows how to integrate them to produce growth and brand strength. Yohn′s book is helpful reading for executives and managers at all levels, and it will guide the next generation of great brands. (Jan.) ( Publishers Weekly , December 2013)


"With her finger on the pulse of today′s competitive business landscape, Denise Lee Yohn knows more than most how to create, sustain, and leverage a great brand. Her writing style coaches readers in a warm and conversational way as she offers up–to–the–minute advice, inspiring examples of organizations that have done it right, and cautionary tales of some who haven′t. If you care about building your brand to grow your business, you can′t afford not to read What Great Brands Do by Denise Lee Yohn." —Ken Blanchard, coauthor, The One Minute Manager and TrustWorks! "Every leader—from CEOs and CMOs to start–up entrepreneurs—will find Denise′s seven brand–building principles inspirational and immediately useful.???I wish Denise had written What Great Brands Do five years earlier—I would have made it required reading for all P&G brand builders!" —Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer, P&G, and author, Grow "The Internet has resulted in an explosion of options for consumers, and never before have brands and branding been more vital to the future of a commercial enterprise. Denise Lee Yohn has bottled the elixir of brands and the magic behind brands in this book." —Om Malik, founder, GigaOM "Denise Lee Yohn beautifully highlights some of the most beloved brands and how they′ve separated themselves from the rest by creating an emotional connection between the organization and its stakeholders. When employees, vendors, customers, and the community feel like a part of the brand, that′s when the magic happens." —Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO, the Container Store "The seven brand–building principles of What Great Brands Do represent a provocative view of branding. You will look at brand building with new eyes." —David Aaker, vice–chairman, Prophet, and author, Brand Relevance "Chock full of astute insights, compelling case studies, and practical tools, What Great Brands Do demystifies the brand–building process and shows business leaders how to revitalize and strengthen their brands." —John Gerzema, executive chairman, BAV Consulting, and coauthor, New York Times bestseller The Athena Doctrine and The Brand Bubble "If, like me, you’ve never been a ′brand person,′ let Denise Lee Yohn be your guide in building your brand into your business. Follow her principles, embrace her tools, and execute through every single thing you do. As she taught me, that′s what great brands do." — B. Joseph Pine II , coauthor, The Experience Economy and Authenticity "While brands have become increasingly complex and challenging to manage, Denise has done a terrific job of breaking down what matters in building brands that don’t just thrive, but win." — Scott Davis , chief growth officer, Prophet, and author, Building the Brand–Driven Business

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1468 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (20 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F2JFSW4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,985 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Years ago, Warren Buffett observed, "Price is what you charge. Value is what people think it's worth." I agree with him and also with Denise Lee Yohn when she shares her thoughts about the concept of "brand as business." Ultimately, consumers determine the value of a brand. More often than not, they are willing to pay more for a great brand's products than for competitors' products. Great brands consistently fulfill (if not exceed) expectations and keep promises; they also provide a quality of personal experience whose value to a consumer is incalculable. Smart marketers know how to build or re-build a brand so that they can then build or re-build a business.

As Yohn explains, beneath the measures of profitability and industry esteem that serve as evidence of brands' greatness, there is "a crucial common underpinning that distinguishes them: companies with great brands conceive of their brands as complete strategic platforms. They identify the key values and attributes that define [and differentiate] their brands and then make their brands their businesses -- that's what I mean by 'brand as business.' Operationalizing the brand in this way produces results by optimizing the very core operating system of the business. Brand building of this kind, when it's done well, permeates the company culture, improves the value delivered to customers, and determines how the company interacts with all its stakeholders."

One of Yohn's most valuable insights is that the brand-as-business management philosophy views resource allocations as investments in a core business resource. That is, "Dollars spent on building the business are dollars spent on building the brand, and vice versa.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  73 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that represents a great brand in itself 27 Jan 2014
By Geoff Miller - Published on
What Great Brands Do is more than a collection of stories and how-to's for making your brand live within your culture, your customers, and your products. It's a reflection of the author's brand as well. Denise Yohn practices her own lessons as she explains the seven brand-building principles throughout the book. Denise's advice is that great brands avoid selling and that they ignore trends. I found her writing to be refreshingly absent of self-promotion. Her chapters suggest a game plan for doing business the right way, but there's no step-by-step blog-like list of do's and don'ts. Instead, you simply read page after page of simple, sensible, compelling evidence that tells the reader that Denise knows what she's talking about and, ultimately, that her analysis is accurate, valuable, and repeatable. A wonderful book with a no-nonsense style, written without ego or bias, and filled with interesting anecdotes and memorable, thought-provoking prose.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Impressive 11 Feb 2014
By Bryan W. Mattimore - Published on
I'll start with a full disclosure. Denise and I have the same publisher (Jossey-Bass) and Denise asked me to share with her the learnings from the launch and promotion of my book, Idea Stormers. She also asked me to write a review of "What Great Brands Do" -- but stressed that she wanted it to be brutally honest. Taking her at her word, I'd rate "What Great Brands Do" a 4.5.

In any business book, I'm looking for a big/fresh/new/unique idea, and a way to operationalize that big idea. Not easy, right? Frankly, I was surprised to find both in Denise's book. For me, the big idea was that brands can (and should) be the instrument for internal culture change; as well as the means for aligning/coordinating all the external consumer and customer touchpoints. A nice idea, but without the tools on how to accomplish this alignment, this book would have been very disappointing.

It's in the tools that Denise's book truly shines. Frankly, I'm a tough critic on tools. In my ideation and innovation work, we're always trying to invent new ones, so I know how hard it is to create tools that are at once unique, and more importantly, effective. Even more critical is the experience to know when and how to use/customize a specific tool. Denise does a great job on both these fronts: original tools, and clear instructions on when and how to use them based on her own experience/consulting work. Very impressive. (An example of one of the more fun/creative tools on how to sharpen brand focus, is "Write Your Brand's Obituary.")

The book is also extremely well-written and edited. (The Jossey-Bass editors are fantastic!) There's no fluff. Unlike most business books, it's 220 pages of useful and valuable information, tools, and techniques.

So, why did I rate the book "only" 4.5 stars. My one wish is that there would have been more examples from Denise's clients/consulting work. Certainly there are SONY examples (where Denise formerly worked), but I wanted more. (That being said, I also know how difficult it can be to get current and former clients to give permission, so this is not a big miss). Most important is that the ideas and tools in "What Great Barnds Do" are based on the experience of a real-world practitioner.

Net net, this is a wonderfully written -- and tremendously useful -- book.

Bryan Mattimore
Growth Engine
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Principles That Make Sense in Today's World 17 May 2014
By Mathlete - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love reading books about branding, brand management, and consumer behavior. What Denise Lee Yohn has managed to do in her book that authors like Al Ries, Laura Ries, Jack Trout, and others is to place a framework around the best in class principles of brand building in today's heavily cluttered world.

What really makes 'What Great Brands Do' memorable is that it is not so highly theoretical that it cannot be used in practice while not being so simple that it is not an interesting read. This book is not only interesting, it is a very quick read. At 272 pages, you can easily get through it in a week or less. You may find yourself wanting to take it in parts though - one principle a day.

You can read the publisher's summary or other reviews if you want more context about the details of the principles or the book. I prefer to leave that and give my opinion of - "Was this book worthy of my time to read?" and "Did I learn anything new?" I can honestly say yes to both. If you like brand books that are written like practical how-to guides versus textbook theory, this will be a great addition to your bookshelf.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Do Great Marketers do? They Study the success and failures of others and learn from it! 2 Jan 2014
By Thomas W. Loker - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
What do Kodak, Nike, Adidas, Absolut Vodka, Chipotle Grill, Tiffanies, Lululemon Athletica, Barney's, Ben and Jerry's and many other companies have in common? They all come under the laser edged scalpel of Denise Lee Yohn as she dissects and diagnoses their successes and failures while she illustrates exactly what great brands do to stay on top and what they sometimes forget that leads them to failure.

This is one business book that will soon be on every leaders shelf! In fact, I would argue that after they read it, they keep it on their desk until they have fully inculcated the basic brand principles she espouses into the very fabric of their business. Of course, this is assuming they really want to survive, thrive and win in today's business environment.

Congratulations and a big thank you to Denise for writing this valuable book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but did it need to be a full book? 27 Mar 2014
By Steve Sando - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This was a pleasant, easy to read book that in the end, could have been a very good magazine piece. I think you do most of this stuff intuitively (and if so, it's nice to have someone define it for you) or you're never really going to "get it". I don't believe there's a lot you do to learn to become a great brand.
It would be very easy to follow all the rules by the letter (and not the spirit) and still drive a brand into the ground. I think you are great or you're not.
Still, it's fun reading about smart people doing smart things.
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