advice on how to build meaningful brands

July 12, 2018

38 | How your brand culture can make you thrive and outlast – with Tyler Williams

Why you’ve got to listen to this episode:

It’s becoming harder and harder to build a successful business that lasts. The average age of an S&P 500 company is now under 20 years, down from 60 years in the 1950s, according to *Credit Suisse.

Zappos, is an online shoe, clothing and accessory retailer that is trying to combat this statistic by building a company with a strong set of values, a clear purpose and a relentless focus on customer service and internal culture.

Zappos is very different from your regular business and at first their methods may seem quirky and lacking the business acumen and stringent rules and norms of traditional business that lead to success. But Zappos is a company that understands that business as usual may only result, as it has for so many, in the death of the company.

The company built a strong brand based on 10 values and a clear purpose, and they are relentless in living by those values and pursuing their brand purpose. The result is a highly profitable company known for its strong culture and amazing client service.

Unorthodox methods and all, Zappos is a company that is scaling innovation and building a resilient internal culture while delivering exceptional client service and gaining loyal customers in return. Which may just be what any company needs if they are to survive.

Who can benefit from listening in:

Zappos is one of the best examples of a company whose success is in great part due to the focus on their brand. They defined their brand values and purpose as many others have, but where they differ is on how intentional and relentless they are in making sure everything they do is aligned with their values and purpose.

Their brand is so strong, and the company is so successful that when Amazon purchased Zappos in 2009 for $1B they stayed clear of the company and their approach to business.

In fact, Zappos receives every month to their campus in Las Vegas, over 1,500 curious visitors trying to learn just how the company built such a strong brand.

The demand to learn from Zappos is so great that they’ve created Zappos Insights, a department dedicated to help share the Zappos culture with the world.

In this interview with Tyler Williams, Fungineer from Zappos, we learn some of the company’s tactics and strategies to build and continue to strengthen their brand.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • “The default faith for most companies is death” Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. If you want your business to survive you can’t do business as usual, you have to build and invest in your culture and your customer.
  • Your core values should be part of your everyday conversations. If they are not, you don’t have a strong brand.
  • Who do you want to be as a company? If you don’t have an answer to this question you don’t know what you stand for and how you should act. But most importantly, your customers don’t know who you are and can’t build trust with you.
  • “The most effective way to live as a brand is to sense and respond not to predict, command and control.” Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. The only way for your company to sense and respond is for your staff to be in tune with your customers and have the empowerment to respond to their needs.
  • Strong brands not only allow but encourage staff to make emotional connections with customers.
  • If you focus on transactions, you’ll likely get good transactions. But if your focus is on your customer, you’ll build a relationship and relationships last a lot longer than a transaction.

Links to resources mentioned in this episode


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Episode supplement

The supplement for this episode includes behind the scenes photos of Zappos Las Vegas Campus.



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