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The Brand-Driven CEO: <br/>Hugo Powell’s Top 5 Learnings for Brand-Driven CEOs 


The Brand-Driven CEO:
Hugo Powell’s Top 5 Learnings for Brand-Driven CEOs 

Meet Hugo Powell, a seasoned, global CEO, and Level5 founder David Kincaid’s former boss and mentor. Across 7 videos, we captured an inspiring interview relating Hugo’s experiences to key concepts in David’s book The Brand-Driven CEO.

The interview presented a unique chance for David to interview the mentor that taught and inspired him to write his book. From coffee, to bakeries, to beer – Hugo amassed a wealth of knowledge, experience, and advice throughout his many, impressive leadership roles. Today, we present you with five key points drawn from the series—a testament to the motivation and mentorship that shaped David’s ideas and inspired The Brand-Driven CEO.

1. Brands drive value.

Excerpt from The Brand-Driven CEO

“Although they usually show up on a company’s balance sheet as an intangible asset, brands are having an increasingly tangible impact on companies’ overall market value.”

Hugo on brand as a business system™

“Doing transactions allowed me to think about why I would want to buy that company, or not want to buy it. What are the values created? And of course, the brand and its trajectory are a very big part of that.”

2. Managing brand health and wealth – the devil is in the details.

Excerpt from The Brand-Driven CEO

“The definition of a brand is the Value of a Promise Consistently Kept. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? In many ways, it is, provided that the brand’s leadership is committed to executing against each component of the definition.”

Hugo, in the context of his time at Labatt, working to gain back market share from Molson

“Disaggregation is the grunt work of getting down to more detail than your competitor will pursue to better understand the situation and what needs to be different in the future to realize brand consistency and value.”

3. Great brands deliver on an unmet need, first or better.

Excerpt from The Brand-Driven CEO

“Brands don’t survive unless they create value for their stakeholders. They create value by delivering a benefit – either fulfilling an unmet need or delivering the benefit in a more competitive way than their peers. By determining the true benefit that your organization delivers and the value it creates for its stakeholders, you can answer the question of what business you’re in.”

Hugo in the context of his time leading Nabob Coffee, from a regional private label, to a colossal market share of 28% after introducing a new type of coffee pack and consumer benefit to market

“We [Nabob] promised top quality and freshness. Vacuum [coffee] cans have a role in this, but were expensive. Paper packs did not. Traditional paper packs were low-cost but the coffee would go stale. So, the question became, how do we persuade consumers that [vacuum hard packs] should be the choice? It’s not stale. It’s as fresh as can be. We effectively changed the market dynamic and consumer behaviour.”

4. Managing a brand is managing a business system.

Excerpt from The Brand-Driven CEO

“To sustain a company’s promise consistently, top management must inspire and coordinate everyone within the organization toward a common goal of providing a benefit that creates value in the marketplace and for its target customers.”

Hugo about his time bringing McGavin’s Bakery back to sustained growth and profitability

“If you aren’t keeping a daily P&L, you’ll never know where it went wrong.”

5. Great brands start with a vision that inspires an entire organization to action.

Excerpt from The Brand-Driven CEO

“Successful brand-driven companies encourage their employees and all stakeholders to participate in the fulfillment of the brand promise to gain their participation. Brand-driven leaders must communicate clearly so that employees and stakeholders understand the meaning of the brand what it stands for and their role in its sustainable success.”

Hugo in the context of his mission to bring Labatt back to number 1 by gaining 1% market share back each year for 5 years – aligning the team to a position

“Labatt, for years, had been the leader in Canada. We had a very strong competitor in Molson and our mission was simply to earn it [market share] back.

We were building a plan that employees were excited by and took ourselves away for a two-day seminar with the leadership team to build a long-range plan. And we’d end up with a little bit of compromise. But we were ready to march.

Wins, especially early wins, that it’s working, help. There’s nothing like success to encourage people that ‘these guys know what they’re doing’.”

Download the Top 5 Learnings Here

Hugo’s storytelling has been invaluable as we delve into concepts from the Brand-Driven CEO. Stay tuned for more from Hugo and David about great brands, and the key to business success: the people.

Interested in watching the video series? Watch it below:


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