It was my privilege to experience the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting — known as “Woodstock for Capitalists” — as a wide-eyed newcomer attending for the first time along with seasoned experts from Prouty Project, one of the most enduringly successful organizational-development firms in the Twin Cities.

On a cold and rainy day in Omaha, we were educated on significant financial matters. And we also were witness to a lesson in brand management. As someone who sees reality through a brand strategy lens, I can only conclude that Warren Buffet, 86, and Charlie Munger, 92, are not only masters at making money, but also masters at marketing — the kind of marketing that’s both classic and original: they simply are who they are.

Buffet and Munger possess an unmistakable drive to achieve extraordinary results, complemented by an obvious desire to be fair and honest. With an eye toward the distant future, they hold an absolute resolve to do the right thing, which seems to assure their ongoing success.  

This authentic reputation derives from decades of being consistently candid about what they believe and how they work. Much of that belief system was revealed in the six hours of question-and-answer that took place live on stage and this year for the first time, live on the internet. 

Several themes emerged including: seeking high value, taking the long view, and keeping a virtuous character. “It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results,” says Buffet. “The key is to understand the business, buy it at a sensible price, and grow the earnings over time.”  

This level of clarity and manner of confidence are typical of a true Level Five leader. Buffet’s absolute drive and obvious humility make for a track record of sustained achievement: Berkshire boasts a 19.2% rate of per-share book-value growth compounded annually over 51 years.

The Buffet-Munger duo behind the Berkshire Hathaway brand creates a compelling narrative — one that embodies an inherent determination to achieve remarkable results. This driving energy seems to generate from some place deep in their individual DNA. And it certainly commands attention.