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Meet Soon Yu – An Interview with our Upcoming Guest Speaker

April 3, 2018

Innovative. Imaginative. Insightful. Lucky for us, Soon Yu has captured his branding knowledge in a new book entitled Iconic Advantage ® : Don’t Chase the New, Innovate the Old. Soon believes that businesses get enamored by shiny new ideas and overlook the value in their existing products. The Brand Establishment caught up with Soon on his book tour to talk about branding and get a sneak peek of what he has in store for us at our summer conference in Chicago.

TBE: It’s fascinating that the strategy you outline in Iconic Advantage is similar to the Brand Establishment’s brand discovery process. They both start with finding evidence of distinction, which we use to form a company’s value proposition. Do you think brands chase the new because they forget their value proposition?

SOON: Value is a big word. But how a brand delivers value isn’t enough to make customers care. How do you make people take notice? What’s different and distinct about your brand? You must define it in a way that piques their interest.

TBE: Do you think we make value propositions too vague then?

SOON: Everyone uses the same buzzwords, a lot of platitudes. I think sometimes we fear the process of becoming too specific. It’s a fine balance. The value proposition should become a signature that I can create to make me stand out. It’s more important to be indispensable to 100 people than to be known by a million. With social media as their bullhorn, they’ll fill it with good testimonials.

TBE: You recently did a great interview with NASDAQ where you talked about Amazon’s iconicity, and the idea guiding their innovation. It was so insightful. Do you remember what you said?

SOON: Yes, it was “no patience required.” A value proposition should be the way you explain what you do to your spouse, your kid, your grandma. Can you get it down to that level? You should be able to tell me the passion behind your product.

“Brand caretakers have a responsibility to make sure the customer never falls out of love with their brand.”

TBE: A common approach that companies take is to say how they solve a problem for their customer, especially for us that work with services instead of products. But you say that companies need to go a step beyond problem solving and think about adding pleasure. Can you elaborate a little more on that point?

SOON: Yes, one of the common myths is that when your brand is a service, it’s easy to get focused on reducing steps and solving pain points. But nothing makes you sticky. Someone can always jump in and introduce a new service that’s cheaper. Are there moments in the customer’s journey where you can add delight?

For example, Disney wanted a way to reduce the long lines and queue time. They created MagicBand. Just swipe. A host greets you by name, welcomes you and your kids, even knows it’s your birthday. They created a signature experience out of it.

TBE: What inspires you?

SOON: We all have an intimate relationship with brands, like we do with people. We don’t ever want to be on the fence with the ones we love. Brand caretakers have a responsibility to make sure the customer never falls out of love with their brand. I’m very passionate about making sure as many people as possible know.

TBE: What do you think of when you think of Chicago? Is there any place you like to visit?

SOON: I like Chicago’s iconic buildings, the Miracle Mile, the Bean. It has a lot of signature elements. Even when you market a city, you should ask what makes it iconic.

TBE: Always bringing it back to Iconic Advantage! Soon, thank you so much. We can’t wait to see you in Chicago!

For more information about our upcoming Summer Member Meeting, visit here >> 

About The Brand Establishment

The Brand Establishment perfected the first contemporary brand development process specifically for small to mid-sized advertisers more than two decades ago. These tools and procedures have been utilized by companies in virtually every business sector – hundreds of times.