BRAND: NEW DAY (brandnewdayretreat.com) is a one-of-a-kind brand-building thought leadership retreat founded by Larry Gulko. A company’s senior management team immerses themselves in a one-day collaborative experience designed to take their brand to the next level. It drives brand performance and business growth, and is specifically personalized | customized for an individual company.
The CEO Whisperer
BRAND: NEW DAY was created by Larry Gulko, a well-known brand strategist, growth advisor, and media personality. He’s engaged in insightful and inspirational conversations with over 75 dynamic CEOs from iconic brands in the last 15 years as they share their “nuggets of wisdom” with him on what it takes to build a leading brand. “I’m a very curious person,” claims Gulko. “Some people have referred to me as a ‘CEO Whisperer.’
It makes sense since he’s surrounded himself with many CEOs. He founded the annual CEO Brand Leadership Roundtable at the Harvard Business School. This popular event features several successful CEOs sharing their business insight and marketing strategies. Larry learns from these amazing experiences and integrates their bold and disruptive innovative thinking into his retreat and his brand consulting business. However, this isn’t the only thing he does with big brands.
Larry has several other platforms where he shares keys to success. On his website you can also find the CEO Lounge, which showcases exclusive interviews with some of the most successful CEOs in the business world. They share their insights about brand-building strategy, leadership style, and more! He also created a podcast series called Name Brands on CBS Boston where he also interviews CEOs.
Education is Key
Gulko’s goal with all of these platforms is education- one of the most important things to Larry. That’s why he started the retreat; so he can pass on his expertise and proven track record to others. “I’m an educator, so as a brand strategist, or as a growth advisor or a public speaker, I’m always educating,” said Gulko. “BRAND: NEW DAY is a brand building venue that’s all about education.”
The Impact of the Pandemic
Just like most companies, the pandemic has made BRAND: NEW DAY pivot to rethink how they would continue to deliver this awesome experience on a virtual platform.
“We’ve had to pivot to virtual,” says Gulko. “It’s been successful, but naturally things are different. The content and the strategy is top shelf and so is the enthusiasm and collaboration; however the vibe and energy being in-person is something we all miss.”
Despite being eager to return to the in-person experience, Gulko says he will continue delivering virtual retreats in the future. “It’ll always be a hybrid, depending on the company. It’s easy to simply log in instead of having 20 corporate execs travel to a location.”
Whatever platform the program is presented, it’s quite evident it is successful and makes a huge difference to business leaders determined to take their brand to the next level. Gulko always creates and delivers amazingly interactive experiences during the retreats, “In one day we create many amazing new ideas, ideas we’re tweaking and honing in on that weren’t on the table when we started our one-day journey. The ideas are flowing faster than people can think. It’s amazing what takes place in this bubble for one day.”
The Need to Stand Out and Break Through The Marketing Noise
The most important thing to Larry is to focus your brand to break through the marketing clutter and dominate a product category. If a product is going to be perceived as another brand then it’s going to live in the ‘sea of sameness.’ And be dimply a brand name; not a name brands. “Building brands is all about owning a category,” said Gulko. “Bose owns a category, Dunkin’ owns a category, Joseph Abboud owns a category, Crocs owns a category. It’s all about category leadership.” To achieve remarkable success, it’s critical to stand out. Take risks. If a brand is playing it safe then it isn’t going anywhere. And might just disappear!’
It’s Essential to Specialize
Another thing that is important to Larry is having an authentic brand voice. There’s so many companies today that sometimes it’s hard to stand out. “You have to be a specialist not a generalist,” recommends Gulko. “Look at the retail stores today. Retail stores known for nothing are losing big-time. Small boutiques and great specialized brands are winning.”
Consumers expect a certain experience, to enjoy an emotional connection with brands they love and respect. And have meaningful conversations with them. An example Gulko gave was the brand Levi’s. Levi’s has achieved amazing brand equity and business value in the words ‘blue jeans.’ Levi’s saw an opportunity to create khakis. New camp – New brand! So they created Dockers, where high quality khakis became their brand. Dockers is a huge success, and most people don’t even know it’s owned by Levi’s. Because we buy brands…not companies, states Gulko. 99% of consumers have no idea who makes Dockers and they don’t care.
Choreograph a Remarkable Customer Experience
Gulko feels a brand must deliver a unique experience perceived like no other brand in your category. Once that is done, a brand will have an amazingly loyal consumer base. “You’re a customer for life until they mess up” said Gulko, “You’re not price sensitive as you love the brand because you feel they deliver an amazing value and experience that no other brand can deliver.”
A brand will only succeed if it is focused, disrupts a category, created an emotional connection, and delivers on its brand promise. Larry even follows his own advice with his company and his personal brand. “Don’t try to be the best. Just be the only,” And BRAND: NEW DAY is the only brand-building thought leadership company retreat that exists in the business community today.”
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By Isabella LaPlant