Category Archives: brand storytelling

Innovate or die: slide into irrelevancy hits BHS and Austin Reed

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Two more high-street names bit the dust this week.  Austin Reed and BHS have become victims of the failure to recognise that innovate or die needs to be any company’s mantra. I was born in Brixton, so British Home Stores was a high street feature in the years that I was growing up.  Although never trendy or iconic in any way, it was one of those 70s staples that you could rely on for all things, well – home!  It epitomised that decade of transition between the stylish frolics of the 60’s through the decade of zero home style, punctuated with oddly patterned wallpaper, bri-nylon, poly-cotton sheets, and flannel pjs.

I think it’s steady demise may go back even as far as the 80s when it fell out of relevance with the arrival of the late Princess of Wales and a passion for all things Sloane, Chelsea, frilly flowers and chintz and never recovered during the onward creep of taupe clad walls and The White Company pristine simplicity of the 90’s. Read More

Giving Thanks for a Life on Mars

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As I was growing up in the early 70s, you could make a handful of music choices to establish or endorse who you were.  You had a choice of poppy wholesome pap like The Osmonds, a slightly raunchier David Cassidy (well in his later years anyway), the bounce of the Jackson 5 – or you could go to the cutting edge and choose Marc Bolan or David Bowie. David Bowie was probably my first genuine exposure to what a true personal brand is all about – an iconic Starman who I fervently hope is enjoying Life on Mars as I write. Read More

How my relationship with the John Lewis brand took a ding

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As the UK’s most anticipated Christmas advert breaks all over social media, I’m sad to report that my great relationship with the John Lewis brand has taken a bit of a ding. For most of my life, John Lewis and Waitrose have stood out as beacons of excellence in both brand communications, business model, employee engagement and customer service.

Unfortunately on four occasions since I moved to West Sussex and visited the John Lewis Home store in Chichester, I have had a disappointing experience, and on a recent visit – a downright bad one. Normally poor customer service puts me in a bad mood for a very short period and I do one of two things: forget it or suggest my services to the perp! In the case of John Lewis – as a favourite brand – I’ve had to have a ponder the relationship question – is it me not you? Read More

How to build the components of a great brand story

By | brand storytelling, Connection, Creativity, Purposeful Brands | No Comments
Storytelling is the latest, greatest strategy buzzword.  Following on right behind disruption, innovation, creativity and even thinking.  Storytelling is the new black. Storytelling is nothing really new to the creative community; any good brand creative knows a brand is only as good as the deep emotional connection it makes with its audience.  And what better way to do that than through a story.  So what are the components of a great brand story and how do you create one? Read More

How to Tell Your Business Story: To Be A Person Is To Have A Story

By | brand storytelling, personal brands, Purposeful Brands | No Comments

This famous quote was written many decades ago by world-famous Danish author Isak Dinesen.  Storytelling has been an instinctive part of the human race since we first developed language.  From the cave paintings of the Neanderthals, religious tomes like The Bible, to the vibrant stories of Native American Indians and other indigenous folk,  to J.K. Rowling – stories have been helping us with understanding, learning and connection.  What stories really do is help us bring meaning to something, and humanity into the work that we do,  helping us to build strong connections and empathy with others. And yet still people in business don’t seem to have any sense that to be a ‘person’ – i.e. to have a reputation – is to have a story. Read More

How Do You Build Trusted Brands: What do you Believe?

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Thousands of words have been written around the subject of how to build trusted brands.  So much so that I hesitated to add to them.  Most people who work in brand-building have at some point or other intersected with marketing or PR as a discipline, so much marketing-speak has been applied to brand-building.  Everyone has a ‘philosophy’ or a jazzed up ‘system’.

I don’t have a system as such because every single company faces different challenges within its business and brand building programme.  But there are a couple of moments in my working life that have stood out for me as important signposts in creating and maintaining a much-loved and trusted brand, and a series of things in which I believe that have proven a trusted approach over time. Read More