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Denise Yohn - Denise Lee Yohn, Inc.. San Diego, CA, US

Denise Yohn Denise Yohn

Denise Lee Yohn, Inc.


inspiring brand-building expert, keynote speaker, and author of best-selling book What Great Brands Do





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Blending a fresh perspective, twenty-five years of experience, and a talent for inspiring audiences, Denise Lee Yohn is a leading authority on building and positioning exceptional brands.

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.

An influential writer, Denise enjoys challenging readers to think differently about brand-building. She contributes regularly to Harvard Business Review and Forbes, and is the author of the monthly column Brand New Perspectives to QSR Magazine.

In 2008 she launched her blog, brand as business bites™, which the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) named as one of the top 20 marketing blogs. Denise also penned the book What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest (Jossey-Bass).

With her expertise and personal approach, Denise delivers an array of inspirational workshops, presentations, and keynote addresses to business leaders in all industries. When she’s not writing or speaking, she serves as the brand director for TEDx San Diego and sits on the board of directors for a branch of the YMCA.

Visit to learn more and book Denise to ignite your organization.

Industry Expertise (3)



Restaurant/Food Service

Areas of Expertise (3)



Customer Experience

Accomplishments (1)

Top 25 Blogs Marketing Executives Actually Read (professional)

Denise's blog, "brand as business bites" was named among the Top 25 Blogs Marketing Executives Actually Read.

Education (1)

Northwestern University: BA, Political Science & Psychology (double major)

Testimonials (11)

Terri Funk Graham, Chief Marketing Officer | Jack In the Box

Denise has brought fresh thinking and insights to the challenge of re-energizing our brand and helping us differentiate in a sea of fast food sameness. She contributes a unique combination of smart analysis, category expertise, and an energizing work style.

Mike Fox, Director, Global Vertical Marketing | Facebook

"Best speaker of the day" gave [the audience] a fresh perspective!

Ken Romley, CEO | ZiftSolutions

Denise’s keynote took our customer summit to new heights. She did her research, hit all of the points we’d discussed, and used provocative insights and examples. Her talk was inspiring and informative –worth every penny!

David Murphy, President | Team Detroit

I've worked with Denise in different capacities over the years (client and colleague) and the result is always the same ― she uncovers fresh insights into the consumer and the brand and then seamlessly connect the dots.

Jenny Adams, CEO | Discover the World

You were truly a hit and with top travel companies…and our offices and staff really took it to heart and truly enjoyed your presentations and workshops.

Rajan Varadarajan, Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Ford Chair in Marketing & E-Commerce, Mays Business School at Texas A&M University | Texas A&M University's The Retailing Summit

"Denise outlined a detailed roadmap for retailers for building their brands. In today’s intensively competitive retailing environment, the various concepts such as the brand platform and tools such as the brand touchpoint wheel that Denise covered in her presentation represent timely and important to retailers, big and small."

Anam Alpenia, Conference Producer | Red Herring North America

"Denise is awesome onstage – a real dynamic presence. She brought insightful comments and a lot of energy to the session."

Mark G. Anderson, Conference Producer | Business Growth Conference 2010, coordinated jointly by the Harvard Business School Alumni Association and Marshall School of Business Alumni Association

"We were privileged to have Denise serve as a panel member for our Brand Strategy breakouts. Her experience and insights were amazing and helped to make the conference a huge success. She is brilliant and entertaining – able to point out a unique twist or opportunity on what might otherwise be a very clinical case analysis."

Sabrina Brown, Conference Producer | Canadian Tourism Commission Board of Advisors Annual Retreat

"We wanted someone who could stretch our thinking. The attendees were blown away by her presentation. We were very pleased with the depth of her experience and her ability to easily communicate that to a broad audience base."

Sam Oches, Editor | DineAmerica 2012

Denise's talk was informative, interesting, and entertaining. I received a lot of compliments.

Peter Taylor, former head of marketing | Road Runner Sports

Denise puts science into the art of brand building. Brands are built with discipline and it is discipline that Denise challenges companies to understand. Her quiver of tools to extract the essence of a brand and to develop a framework for evolving its market value are sharp and effective. I have the utmost respect for her experience and methodologies.

Event Appearances (16)

Level 5 Relevance

Fast Casual Executive Summit  San Diego, CA


A Rising Brand Lifts All Boats

Zift Solutions Success Summit  Redwood City, CA


Influencing Big Tech Marketers

Facebook 2012 Global Technology Summit   Menlo Park, CA


Wonder Women in Today’s Workforce

NAAAP Southern California Leadership Symposium 2012  San Diego, CA


Crossing the Digital Health & Fitness Tech Chasm

Women In Technology International  San Diego, CA


What Great Brands Do

DineAmerica 2012  Atlanta, GA


It's Not Just About Tech

FitnessTech Summit at Consumer Electronics Show  Las Vegas, CA


Elevate Your Marketing Game

Elevation Burger Franchise Conference  Las Vegas, NV


Digital Health & Fitness Recap

2012 International CES Recap Presented by OCTANe  Irvine, CA


Your Club Experience Is Your Marketing

Club Industry 2012  Chicago, IL


Mobile: New Business Models, New Markets

Red Herring U.S. 100  Coronado, CA


The Mitchell Way

Mitchell International Leadership Meeting 2011  San Diego, CA


Branding Essentials

Southern California Business Growth Conference   Anaheim CA


Brand as Business

2010 Association for Strategic Planning Annual Conference  Pasadena, CA


Align and Integrate Your Customer Experiences

Texas A&M University's The Retailing Summit  Dallas, TX


Consumer Brand Building -- What Works/What Doesn’t

2011 ANT+ Alliance Symposium  Kananaskis, CANADA


Sample Talks (1)

What Great Brands Do

From Starbucks to IBM to Patagonia, 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? Drawing from case studies, analysis, and interviews with brand leaders, brand expert Denise Lee Yohn will explain best practices and unlock the principles behind the world’s greatest brands. Visit to view videos of past speaking engagements.



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Corporate Training


*Will consider certain engagements for no fee