CEO STORIES: Howard Breindel, co-CEO, DeSantis Breindel

Howard Breindel
Co-CEO, DeSantis Breindel

DeSantis Breindel Co-CEO Howard Breindel talks about brand versus marketing – how they’re different, and how they intersect – the challenges specific to B2B companies, and how to keep a creative team connected during COVID.


As a B2B brand strategy and brand experience firm, DeSantis Breindel works with B2B companies to maximize and leverage one of their most important assets. The firm defines brand as “the promise a company makes to all of its key stakeholders and the experience it delivers to those stakeholders to fulfill that promise.”

For young companies, the challenge is defining the promise. For more mature companies, it’s the realization that brand is not a static thing.

B2B vs. B2C

If branding is focused on the promise and the experience, marketing is about putting it out for the world to see. B2B marketing is largely about considered decisions, according to Breindel, where consumer marketing is about impulse decisions. The stakes are usually higher in B2B, so the kind of information and experience companies need to provide to their customers is greater and more complex.


DeSantis Breindel is accustomed to working closely with its clients, and like all other companies, has had to learn to operate digitally at the same time its clients have. That shared learning curve has been an advantage, Breindel believes, as clients are often using the same tools. To keep employees engaged, all interaction is done by Zoom – no more phone calls. Internal meetings are scheduled to enable employee interaction without an agenda. What’s impossible to replicate, of course, are the casual, spontaneous conversations that happen in the hallway, in the kitchen, when walking by someone’s desk. Those won’t happen until a vaccine makes people comfortable about returning to the office.

About the Series: Featured stories from the intersection of the free market and entrepreneurial success. Here we speak with leading CEOs, academics, philanthropists and up and comers on their contributions and perspectives on the American economy.

About Patricia O’Connell: Patricia O’Connell serves as Editor in Chief of “This Is Capitalism,” a content site sponsored by Stephens Inc., and is host of the site’s podcast series, “CEO Stories.” Patricia, a former editor at BusinessWeek and a New York Times best-selling author, brings her experience as a journalist and her passion for storytelling to “This Is Capitalism.”