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Stephen Denny

travels from USA

Marketing and Strategy Expert

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About Stephen

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Keynote speaker Stephen Denny has consulted for, spoken to or advised an impressive amount of global 500 players. Stephen holds a MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Our speaker Stephen Denny tailors his keynotes to align with your key business priorities and conference themes through pre-event conference calls and secondary research. Each of his talks is unique and catered to you and your audience.

Keynote speaker Stephen Denny talks about what it takes to be a “Giant Killer” – those businesses that out-maneuver the giants they face regardless of the odds – and how we can learn from these brands and apply their “thinking tools” and cultural shifts to do the impossible. In his keynotes, he draws on over 80 personal interviews with some of the world’s most effective business people – from Silicon Valley to the townships of South Africa, profiling over 35 (and counting) brands from 13 different countries – as well as others outside of the traditional corporate world, from professional gamblers and hostage negotiators to Hollywood screenwriters and war planners, creating a vivid and compelling story of how to out-maneuver the giants we face in business and in life. Importantly, the qualified speaker Stephen Denny tailors his keynotes to align with your key business priorities and conference themes through pre-event conference calls and secondary research. Each of his talks is unique and catered to you and your audience.

The roster of companies Stephen has consulted for, spoken to or advised includes Hewlett Packard, The North Face, Jabra, GN Resound, Altria, Campbell‘s Soup, The Conference Board, YPO Global’s “Win the PR War” London conference, Frederique Constant, Elsevier, Koodo Mobile, Vibram US, PNY Technologies, Fuel Cell Energy and others, from start-ups to Global 500 players. He has also done guest lectures at a number of blue chip graduate business schools, including Wharton, Kellogg, UC Berkeley, and others, plus numerous entrepreneur forums and councils.

Prior to consulting, keynote speaker Stephen Denny was a 20+ year senior marketing executive having managed the people, strategy and budgets at brand name technology companies like Sony, Onstar, Iomega and Plantronics. He has deep experience in both B2B and B2C marketing and has been recognized  as a highly creative, “out of the box” strategist.

Our speaker Stephen Denny has lived and worked in the US and Japan, holds several patents and has an MBA from the Wharton School.

See keynotes with Stephen Denny

    Speaker Stephen Denny Keynote Topics

    • “The Killing Giants Framework”: 3 Areas of excellence that define how Davids topple Goliaths
    • “Leadership Lessons of True Giant Killers”: How vision, insight and culture define modern day “Davids”
    • “Giant Killer Innovations”: Creating sustainable, repeatable success – even when facing Goliaths


    Keynote by Speaker Stephen Denny

    Special Event 1: The “Killing Giants” Executive Briefing

    • Sometimes the executive team needs an off-site of their own – even if it’s just in the board room and it’s only for half a day. Getting the leadership team together for an intensive session on applying the key lessons in Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Giant in Your Industry (Portfolio, 2011) can help get everyone on the same page when it comes to emulating the right kinds of brands, leaders and mindsets that illustrate the “David versus Goliath” struggle we all face.
    • Plus, in this more intimate and informal session, we can do something we can’t in a traditional keynote: we can slow down and discuss what each story, key takeaway and big idea means, reflecting back on the key priorities the company faces and ensuring we’re moving towards a specific action plan when leaving the room.
    • The Killing Giants Executive Briefing fits your schedule, your key priorities and your specific needs – regardless of where you are in your budgeting process or where our event falls in your fiscal calendar. Audience: the right audience for this intensive half-day briefing is your senior leadership team – from board members and executive staff to operating group chiefs.


    Keynote by Speaker Stephen Denny

    Special Event 2: The “Killing Giants” Activation Workshop

    • There are times for introspective thought leadership and there are times to put concrete action plans on paper and get them ready to execute. This special “Killing Giants Activation Workshop” event is for the latter of these two – when you know what your top level objectives are but aren’t certain how you’re exactly going to tactically deliver on them in the marketplace.
    • In this intensive one-day workshop, we will review the key tenets of The Killing Giants Framework and view them against the large macro trends affecting your industry today and the key business objectives your company has articulated, seeing the biggest possible picture of your challenge through a unique lens of global competitive best practices.
    • Then, with your team fully engaged in this immersive learning environment, we will apply the Power of 3TM integrative exercise described in Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath In Your Industry (Portfolio, 2011) to identify the patterns and opportunities in the data we’ve uncovered.
    • If you need to get your operating teams focused for a day and need them to quickly generate three or four big ideas, you’ll find this workshop out-performs your expectations (because we’ll generate more than a dozen big ideas – and your team is like most of the groups we’ve had, they’ll finish the day with more energy and enthusiasm than they had walking in the room in the morning).
    • Audience: the right audience for this one-day workshop is 12-15 people comprised of marketers, key agency members and other key operating group stakeholders – essentially anyone and everyone involved in how your company presents itself to your customer base.

Interview with Stephen Denny

What is the message you hope people will take away from your presentations?

What is the message that people take away from my presentations? That doing the impossible is possible after all.

Killing Giants was written for every business person who has to get up every morning and fight a giant. It seems to be an impossible task – but some people have discovered how to not only survive but thrive in these dangerous situations and come out on top. I had the chance to interview more than 80 of these “giant killers” – from Silicon Valley to the townships of South Africa and everywhere in between – as well as others from non-traditional backgrounds, from professional gamblers and Hollywood screenwriters to police hostage negotiators and professional athletes. Their stories are remarkable – they give us a wide variety of approaches to consider when doing battle against the giants we face in business and in life.

The lesson here is that brains and speed are often more important than big budgets. It’s a story many people see themselves in on a daily basis. It resonates with a wide variety of audiences. And it’s fun to tell.

What is the most unique experience you have had as a result of your job?

I’ve had CEO’s of major companies come up to me after keynote speeches quoting chapters of Killing Giants back to me as the rationale for making big financial decisions for their companies. I’ve had questions from the audience from musicians musing on how various themes in Killing Giants apply to jazz. I’ve even had high school football coaches write me telling how they use lessons in Killing Giants to motivate their teams!

I’m always amazed at how this archetypal story capturing the David-versus-Goliath struggle resonates with such a wide variety of people the world over.

Who or what inspires you the most?

The people I’ve met through the entire Killing Giants process, from my interviewees to the audiences I’ve spoken to, inspire me. Speaking to people who have done the impossible – and who still seem like ordinary people when you sit down to talk to them – make you feel like anything is possible and that big ideas aren’t beyond the reach of us mortals after all.

Listening to the after-keynote conversations with people who are still in the struggle every day and who are committed to completing their own personal “Hero’s Journey” themselves is inspiring.

We all want to know we’re not alone in this difficult task. We want to know that we’re doing it right, too. And when we can come together to share better ways of getting where we want to go – positively, generatively – this is very empowering and inspiring.

How important is cultural literacy for employees in international firms?

When you work for a truly international firm employing people from a wide variety of cultures, it’s difficult to expect everyone to be completely “culturally literate” across so many boundaries. The best lesson I can share is what I call, “staying low on the ladder of inference.”

So often, we’re fully focused on being understood – we’re focused on “re-loading our next declarative statement” – that we fail to pay attention to what is being communicated to us, verbally and non-verbally. Seeking to understand before demanding to be understood is a big step forward. We need to stop assuming that we know what the other person is trying to say and just observe them. We need to drop our defenses and just listen.

When you stay low, putting your ego and your own personal cultural toolset away for the moment, you’re more likely to connect with people of different backgrounds. This is how I’ve found that truly international and multicultural teams work best together.

How do you prepare yourself before giving a keynote speech?

Every keynote begins with interviews. I speak to the principal members of the team to fully understand the key challenges they face in the marketplace, the themes they’ve chosen for their meeting and the big cultural hot buttons I should be aware of. This necessary backdrop informs everything that comes next.

The case studies and vignettes are carefully chosen – sometimes requiring new interviews and research be completed – so that the stories deliver the message needed to resonate with the audience. Together, with the client, we shape the keynote.

Last, I rehearse. I’ve given this talk hundreds of times now, but I still go through the entire keynote at least six times, full length, out loud – usually 2 to 3 times the day of the talk, up in my hotel room! This way, I’m ready. I’ve done my homework, I know what I’m saying and how I’m saying it, and everyone has a great time – and importantly, they all leave the room with something very tangible they can put to work right then, immediately.

I take preparation very seriously because I take my clients very seriously. Their challenges are mission critical to them and the trust they put in me to help them solve these problems – even over the course of a one hour keynote – is too important to be left to chance. It all comes down to how well you prepare! The rest is easy.

See keynotes with Stephen Denny
Non-binding request for Stephen Denny

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

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Keynote topics with Stephen Denny