The Yorkshire Mafia: The Power of a Brand

When we launched the Yorkshire Mafia more than a decade ago the name brought about some raised eyebrows, which was exactly what we expected.

Some people made their thoughts very clear and felt the association was inappropriate, others recognised that this would create word of mouth from day one and would have people talking about the group before any events or drinks evenings had been planned.

Whichever way you look at it, there is one lesson to be learnt from this; the power of a brand is not to be underestimated.

Welcoming LEGO and the lessons learnt

When we welcomed Sara Riis-Carstensen from LEGO to the stage during the Buy Yorkshire Conference, the value and strength of a brand was brought to life as she explained that to reconnect with the audience the team had to go right back to basics and to think about the brick.

As simple as that may seem, it took months of hard work to embrace the brick and to use this as the foundations for all communications and brand activity across the globe.

Putting theory into practice

If we were to take lessons from Sara and put theory into practice, we would think about the unique things that make the Yorkshire Mafia different and appealing to our community.

First and foremost, our policy of no selling is widely accepted and appreciated. This was a conscious decision and has led to many strong and lifelong relationships being formed as a result. Again, a simple step to take, a little more difficult to enforce, but a true benefit of the group.

We would also put some focus on our ‘can do’ attitude. It isn’t aggression or arrogance, it is the ability to get on and do rather than discuss. This philosophy has seen us deliver the largest business to business event in the North and a week-long schedule of events across Leeds.

It has also seen us bike from Leeds to Paris, climb Mount Kilimanjaro and trek across the Sahara Desert. These are huge accomplishments and were made possible by the Group and the characters that came together to take on these challenges and to raise thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

Looking to the future

As we look to the future there are some changes that we are going to make, not least that we have launched our THINK Summit programme, which will bring together leading business figures from across the country.

We have already delivered THINK Manchester, which received excellent feedback, and are now in the process of arranging THINK Yorkshire, which will take place on Thursday 25 June at Aspire in Leeds.

Taking influence from a global brand like LEGO, we know that in order to maintain engagement, attract the right attention and deliver excellent events that will support our community as we all look to build our businesses, we cannot stand still.

As such, we hope that you will take the time to visit the THINK website and to learn more about the programme and what we hope to achieve as we continue to bring some of the brightest business talents in the country to a stage somewhere near you.

For further details please visit

Never forget your values

Despite the shift in focus to be more about smaller events where we bring a community together that have a shared interest, we will do this with consistent values.

This will resonate in how we communicate, the messaging that we share and our approach to be inclusive and to bring about benefits to the wider business community throughout Yorkshire and beyond.

Values have always been firmly at the heart of the YM and this will continue. For those that have considered becoming a member then please do join the community on LinkedIn. As one of the most progressive, proactive and productive groups, there are like-minded business people waiting to meet, learn and share and that for us, is what it’s all about.



In the Yorkshire Mafia?

Have your say on LinkedIn

Become a member

of Yorkshire's biggest network