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Lessons about branding from Yogi Berra

Posted on Sep 25, 2015 1:17:59 PM by Ryan Ring

Yoggi_BerraElements of a brand.
If you are an entrepreneur working from home or in a shared office space or coworking space ready to launch your startup, you have no doubt given thought to the matter of your brand. Products have them, celebrities have them, athletes have them. Some are known only regionally and some are world famous. What does it take to have an enduring brand?

True one-of-a-kind baseball great, Yogi Berra, died Sept 23, 2015, at the age of 90. Berra played as a catcher which is one of the most physically grueling positions in the sport of professional baseball. He earned a tremendous record of achievement as a player on Yankee championship teams and as a manager of the Yankees and the Mets. 

Whether he realized it or not, Yogi was always true to his personal brand, which was lived out in 4 key areas of his public life:


  • He was a winner. Yogi had hard earned status as a baseball great. He played in the minors for 15 years before making it to the majors where he played 19 years for the NY Yankees. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. His talent was described as raw and he was successful as both a catcher and a hitter.
  • He was unique. Yogi was highly appreciated for his Yogi-isms, an expression coined to describe his unusual communication style that had us either laughing or scratching our heads at his humorous but contradictory remarks.


“Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore. It’s too crowded.”


“Pair up in threes”


“Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”


  • He was humble. He was the son of an immigrant with very little education. He was married for over 60 years and, although a D-Day veteran, was quiet about his war record and humble about his achievements.
  • He was a commercial success. Baby boomers will recall the cartoon patterned after his name and his communication style. He sold many products and appeared in Hollywood films such as “That Touch of Mink” with Cary Grant and Doris Day.


Yogi was his own brand. Other than Babe Ruth, there is perhaps no other player with first name recognition. There was only one Yogi.


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