I ‘do’ branding.

I still feel awkward saying that out loud to people I meet who ask “what do you do?”

I started out my creative career as a graphic designer, but became a brand designer.

I worked for branding agencies.

I started a few brands of my own (with varying levels of success).

I worked with a brand with ‘cult-like’ status.

I’ve ‘sold’ branding to clients large and small.

I ponder many questions surrounding branding.

  • Does branding cause more problems than it tries to solve?
  • Will I be proud of what I’ve achieved in this space, when I’m old(er) and grey(er)?
  • Will I want to tell my daughter Uma, what Daddy does?
  • Is branding just bullshit?
  • Can brands be a force for good?
  • Should brands be political?
Be more Uma. Lose myself in branding. Work with people who crave fun.
My daughter Uma losing herself in creating in our tiny home office in Ebrington.

I’ll probably always question the industry that I love and work in.

So, after 20+ years in branding, I’ve decided it’s time to change how I ‘do’ branding.

I want to help people brand with purpose.

Help people who own or run a business to actually create something ‘good’ for their customers, their fellow human-beings, the planet.

This is a work in progress of some of the rules that I hope will forge the start of my very own brand manifesto.

A set of rules to try and adhere too personally and hopefully values that resonate with the vision of brand owners too…

  1. Don’t bullshit. People have a natural bullshit detector. It’s called their ‘gut feeling’. They can sense when something’s not quite right. Honesty is always the best policy, let’s feed that into every facet of a new brand and conversations with clients. It will reap great results.
  2. No more evil. Think about what a brand is. It’s your perception of a business. When I mention Monsanto, what comes to mind? Suicidal famers in India? Shell Oil? Did you picture a stranded bird in an oil slick? Brands can become steer less juggernauts, with the power to do good or sadly bad. Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. Brands are made by people, to sell things to people. Let’s steer clear of the dark-side.
  3. Design matters. It sounds trite, at least to me, but bad design has no place. Beautiful design can change mood. It can help connect people with other people. Let’s make something beautiful. Words. Pictures. Sounds.
  4. Stand for something. It seems all the more evident that being in business solely for the benefit of shareholders is good for the shareholders, but ultimately drives decisions that badly effect non-shareholders. If you have no purpose, you have no plan. No story. Let’s stand for doing something good. For people. For planet, yes for profit (profit is good!) – but let’s stand for making brands better.
  5. Work smart. Have fun. Go home on time. We all get busy. We can take things too seriously (I know I can). But let’s understand something. This is branding. Yes, it can be powerful, but let’s not let it get in the way of relaxation. Fun. Spending time with your friends & family. This time will better arm you for productive work. Being relaxed = working smarter = better brands.
  6. Work with people who give a shit. Those that have pride in what they do. Those that get excited about starting their working day. People that are not happy just sliding through life. Mediocre isn’t an option. People that push themselves and each other. People on a flywheel of positivity and purpose.
  7. Build communities. Human-centred brands that encourage a sense of belonging and community – backed by a really good cause, whether societal or environmental are the brands that I have no doubt will prosper, but ultimately will be the brands I want to work with. Let’s build tribes.
  8. Never stop creating. Ideas are massive. Small ideas can create massive change. Let’s always be creating ideas, canning the bad ones – but nurturing and ensuring the good ones come to fruition.
  9. Lose yourself in the doing. (Be more Uma – my 4-year old daughter). Losing yourself like a child does in their play. That’s where the magic lays. Losing yourself in your work means detail. It means passion. It means a desire to make it ‘good’. It means happiness. It means good results. Be more Uma.