I went from the School of Management at Lancaster University with my shiny new MA in marketing and joined Cadbury-Schweppes in brand management.
You may recall some of the great assets coming out of the confectionery division back then such as Frank Muir and ‘Everyone’s a Fruit & Nut Case’, or the Man in Black for Milk Tray and who could forget the series of ads with the girls eating a Cadbury’s Flake?
These were my formative years in business and marketing where the value of the brands and their public assets – the creative platforms they were built on – became part of my DNA.
Over the following years there were many more experiences of building assets capable of changing behaviour, altering perception, shifting the battle in markets – all built around – a brand strategy that was ‘top down’ within client organisations.
In more recent times there have been many more personal examples. Launching PlayStation for Sony; creating Goldfish for British Gas/HFC Bank; helping Nike adopt a more attractive European appeal, plus many more.
There have been times where the business challenges have been very significant such as persuading BA loyalists to switch to Virgin Atlantic, building a completely new business for RSA with the development of MORE TH>N, re-launching a legacy airline, BWIA, to Caribbean Airlines with only six months to get it done!
To make an obvious point I’m not suggesting these examples were me on my own, far from it, but they are examples where I have had a central role in the strategy development and direction. In all of these examples the brand strategy was essential to the end result and in all cases it was embraced and supported by the most senior person on the client side, i.e. CEO, President, etc.
So my focus and concentration is on the foundations of what the brand is, what it stands for, how it is expressed and what it means to all interested parties such as staff, stakeholders, investors and customers. When this is done well the product or service concerned stands a much better chance of being a winner versus an also ran.