Barbara Yolles, CEO of LUDWIG+, Best CEOs of 2021 Profile

Barbara Yolles

Barbara Yolles, CEO of LUDWIG+, Best CEOs of 2021

“Transforming Brands Inside Out”

Barbara Yolles , CEO, LUDWIG+, has an uncanny ability to unearth the soul of a brand and business to ignite entire organizations for accelerated business growth. “It’s a mindset that permeates companywide. From the day we get started, you’re expected to roll up your sleeves, dig in and truly understand the business and what moves people,” says Yolles, an inspiring and active leader. She’s always believed that the people inside a company are a key ingredient to unlocking a a brand’s full potential.

“Barbara has made it a mission to empower women by both the example she sets as a powerful and successful female leader, and with the experience, she has gathered mentoring and elevating women.”

Yolles has made it her mission to lead by the example she sets as a powerful and successful female leader, and with the experience she has gathered mentoring and elevating many . As a mom of eight, Yolles has been especially focused on mentoring women throughout her career. She proudly speaks of the women she has mentored who have risen the ranks at top companies, including one of her interns with whom she led and mentored who became CMO of a leading mortgage company in 13 years. For Yolles, it’s about showing the way and choosing how you show up. A big believer in being active in the game, Yolles she embodies the natural qualities of a leader, challenging the status quo and relentlessly striving to make a mark.

In 2019 Yolles launched LUDWIG+ to bring a new formula to building brands and business – brand transformation and business acceleration. Todays agencies offer top talent and creative ideas, but not the level of business smarts and through-the-line activation that can drive exponential growth. On the flipside, many companies build out marketing departments, but are not able to attract top creative talent. “At LUDWIG+, we wanted to pave way for a new marketing concept,” says Yolles. “One-part ad agency + one-part in-house gives brands access to top-of-their-class, strategic-minded marketing, creative teams coupled with the insights and understanding that can only be gleaned from an in-house partner fully immersed in the business. We call it InsideOut Transformation.”

LUDWIG+’s fundamental focus is on revealing the culture and soul of a brand. “If you truly want to unearth a brand’s soul, you must look to its people, process and behaviors. Every business is a collection of people, and your people are the strongest representation of your brand,” she says. “We help brands achieve their highest level of possible, not just through business strategies, but by igniting and creating a rally cry for the people who work there.” Hence, InsideOut Transformation. L+ does this through an immersive process where they interview all key stakeholders to uncover their DNA of the brand and then study those findings in the context of the larger marketplace to identify a white space that is authentic to the business. When done right, the results aren’t just about creating an effective advertisement; they’re about developing products that align with the brand and creating processes to accelerate the business—and do it at an accelerated pace to avoid “leaving money on the table.”

In one instance, for TMS, it took 97 days to completely reimagine and rewrite the language of the category for this little-known, multi-billion-dollar mortgage company. In a highly commoditized industry focused on rates and FICO scores, LUDWIG+ leveraged insights to dial up the joy of homeownership and dial down the angst via the launch of the “Grow Happiness” campaign. “Grow Happiness” has become more than a marketing campaign; it’s a pink-unicorn rallying cry, driver of the company’s mission to help 1MM American dreams come true and filter for everything from call scripts to new product development to technology. For the days to come, Yolles sees short- and long-term growth for LUDWIG+ as playing an infinite game in the pursuit of happiness – for their clients, their people, and the team. We want to work with clients with whom we know we can make a huge impact, people we respect, and have a little fun along the way. IE




Barbara Yolles


THINK+ LIVE+ BE+ + Rewrite the script + Reimagine possible + Find your North Star + Transform your brand from the inside out + Accelerate your business + Be a hero

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