Steve McKeeBy Lindsay Bell-Wheeler

Consider this statement: Every one of the largest, most successful corporations were, at some point, mere startups.

It’s a powerful thought, isn’t it?

Coke. Apple. GE. GM. McDonald’s.

They all had to start somewhere.

Why are they still with us, you ask? What did they do so right, that a bazillion others didn’t?

Well, today’s author Q&A guest can answer those questions for you.

Steve McKee is president of McKee Wallwork + Company, an integrated digital marketing firm based in Albuquerque. But, as is usually the case with our author Q&A guests – that’s not all he does! (Why are these people all so accomplished?? Note to self: Get more accomplished.)

He has nearly three decades of experience as a leading brand strategist, is a longtime marketing columnist for, and is the founder of a tech startup in San Francisco.

He’s also written two books, the latest of which is what we’re going to talk about today: Power Branding.

So, back to the questions we asked above. Why did those brand behemoths have such staying power?

McKee believes that the difference lies in the ability to take risks. That the biggest and best brands aren’t slaves to conventional marketing wisdom.

And he shows by example how the same strategies used by the biggest brands can serve small and mid-sized companies.

David Ogilvy said about branding:

You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.

And that’s exactly what Steve McKee explores in Power Branding.

How can a company grow big by thinking small? Why do the best companies sometimes avoid being better? Why do brands that create the most memorable advertising stay away from focus groups? What is the secret to an effective slogan? When can admitting a negative become a positive?

He includes case studies and lessons learned from many companies, from the aforementioned Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and General Motors, to new media models such as Google and Facebook.

Ask him anything – how making the right (or wrong) hires can dramatically affect your brand? Why a healthy corporate culture is so important? How to ‘ignite’ your brand, and which companies out there have sparked a renewed flame of interest around their own brands? What is ‘choice overload,’ and how does that affect the work of marketers and advertisers? Or, how often he gets mistaken for that other Steve McKee, the Aussie Rules football player?

Today’s Author Q&A with Steve McKee

At noon ET (that’s 11:00 CT, 10:00 MT, and 9:00 PT for those of you who can’t do time zones), Steve will be here to answer any and all of your questions.

In order to participate, all you have to do is:

  • Make sure you have a Livefyre account or be ready to sign in with one of your social networks.
  • Set a reminder for noon ET today.
  • Order the book so you can support Steve and get your learn on.
  • Create a list of questions (if you haven’t read the book, you can bribe me and I’ll write some for you!).
  • Come back here, scroll to the bottom, and write a comment in the form of a question. As soon as you hit “post comment,” Steve will see it and reply to you. You can even join the conversation around questions others are asking, if you like.

We’ll be here for an hour so you can join us the entire time or step in and out during the hour. It’s entirely up to you; just make sure you’re here before 12:59.

Win a Copy

Those of you who participate in today’s Livefyre Q&A (even if you’re late to the party, but not if you’re an Arment Dietrich employee) will be entered into a random drawing for a free copy of the book.

Don’t forget – you have to actually leave a comment, ask a question, or participate in the chat to be entered in the drawing. Otherwise we won’t know you were here.

Get ready with your questions and join the conversation. And don’t fear! If you missed the live portion of this, we’ll keep the drawing open until midnight PT so you still have time to get in your questions.

Former Guests and Who’s Next

For former guests, check out Margie ClaymanSarah RobinsonMark StoryBeth HaydenSarah EvansStanford SmithChris BroganC.C. ChapmanMitch JoelDanny BrownChuck HemannMichael BritoDJ WaldowTom MartinAhava LeibtagJay Baer, Shel Israel, Mark SchaeferGini Dietrich, and Rob Biesenbach.

And following are the dates for the next few months, so mark your calendars!

Same bat time, same bat channel.

Lindsay Bell

Lindsay Bell is the content director at V3 Marketing, and works in Toronto. A former TV producer, she’s a strong advocate of three minutes or less of video content. She has a cool kid, a patient husband, two annoying cats, and Hank Dawge, a Vizsla/Foxhound/moose hybrid. Ok, maybe not moose.

View all posts by Lindsay Bell