Episode 164: Discovering Your Signature Brand for Iconic Advantage with Soon Yu - My Quest for the Best

Episode 164: Discovering Your Signature Brand for Iconic Advantage with Soon Yu

Author, Consultant, Speaker, Professor

Soon Yu talks with Bill Ringle on My Quest for the Best about his new book, Iconic Advantage, and what it means to develop a signature brand.

Key points that you’ll learn from this interview:

  • Why the ability to collaborate is such an essential skill for entrepreneurs.

  • How Yu helped a small company simplify their strategy so they could break into a competitive American market.

  • The benefits of looking for the highest point of entry in marketing.

  • The question he asks Fortune 500 companies to help them focus.

  • The special approach that longstanding successful companies have

 

Interview Insights

Click to Read the Show Notes

1:25 Yu tells about his early experience starting an Asian Funk Band.

2:08 “Even when met with odds that seem insurmountable, it didn’t stop us, we went out and created an Asian Funk Band.”

2:30 “I leaned on a lot of other folks and some of their skills and some of their ideas were basically how to figure out and make a shared vision work.”

3:25 [On his mother as his role model] – My mom decided to do everything she could to contribute to our ability to move to a new country and to acclimate.”

4:16 Yu tells about his move from Taiwan at 3 years old to Berkley, California.

4:39 [On his ideal client] – “Folks who are very interested in learning and have a high degree of curiosity, who know they have a lot of unique skills, capabilities, and experiences, but also are sort of seeking leveraged guidance.”

5:50 Yu tells about his recent work with a company who had a very interesting product and an even more interesting challenge – “Their key challenge was that they had a very distinctive product proposition, and a wonderful story because the products were all made based on empathy…their challenge was how do they come into a mature market and be the eighth competitor in that market?”

8:09 Yu explains the ins and outs of breaking into a complicated market by not going for the lowest hanging fruit.

8:39 “We help them focus on this idea of instead of going really broad, going really narrow.”

10:06 “Do you know which of your brands or your product franchises are delivering most of your profit? And of those, do you know which of them are truly iconic?”

11:47 “Take your cash cow, milk them, and butter them up.”

12:37 [On his inspiration for writing Iconic Advantage] – “I always veer towards wanting to do new things – new product lines, new initiatives, new technology…but what I learned over those 30 years was that I had a hard time commercializing new ideas.”

13:58 [On the approach that longstanding successful companies have] – “They took a lot of their shiny new ideas and applied it to franchises that had momentum.”

14:46 Yu explains that most companies don’t know what makes them iconic.

15:19 [Why it’s critical to keep people in love with your brand] – “Just like consumers fall in love with people, they also fall in love with brands. And just like people, when you fall in love with somebody, you don’t want to fall out of love with them. And if somebody’s in love with you, you’re not going to do things to hurt that relationship.”

15:35 “It’s critical for those of us who are caretakers of brands to take care of that relationship as a love relationship.”

15:59 Basics of the Iconic Brand Pyramid

17:18 “That’s where it starts off – What do you care about?”

17:39 “You want to be consistent about how you represent your personality.”

19:37 “There’s a lot of ways to find these signature elements, and it’s critical that you find those.”

20:09 Why it’s essential to reinforce and align.

21:16 The story behind Nike Air and their path to distinctive design.

22:28 Why it’s important for companies not to overlook the assets already inside of their organization.

23:50 Why an hour of true productivity each day is a goal worth seeking out.

24:42 “I have a very simple 3-5 year vision of what I want to accomplish.”

22:29 “When you leave the room, what fragrance do you leave the room with? What do people remember you for?”

Expert Bio

Soon Yu is an international speaker and bestselling author of Iconic Advantage: Don’t Chase the New, Innovate the Old.

He regularly consults business leaders on developing meaningful Iconic Signature Elements, Signature Moments and Signature Communication.

Yu most recently served as Global VP of Innovation at VF Corporation, parent organization to over 30 global apparel companies, including The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Nautica, and Wrangler. While at VF, Yu created a two-billion-dollar innovation pipeline, established three global innovation centers and initiated industry-leading design best practices.

Prior to this, he worked at The Clorox Company and Chiquita Brands, where he won company-wide awards for best advertising, best promotion and best new product, and gained industry recognition from the Webby Award, Favorite Website Award and Dope Award. He was also founder and CEO for numerous venture-backed startups, including Gazoontite, Promeo Technologies, and TWRL, and was recognized as a Northern California finalist for the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Yu is an adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design and often guest lectures at Stanford University, where he received his MBA and is active with the GSB Asian Alumni Association.

For more information, visit Soon Yu’s Website.

Contact Info for Soon Yu

Web address: www.soonyu.com

Travels from: Austin, TX

Phone: (336) 740-4223

Contact:

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Resources Mentioned by Soon Yu: