May 2020


Said Baaghil is one of the world’s best known Brand Experts.

Particularly in the Middle East.

He’s better known as Unconventional Baaghil.

And he’s a thoroughly nice chap.


I have an opinion about brand.

It is that,

The thing with brand is that, it is just so simple.

It is so simple that even some of the greatest business minds don’t understand it.

I build on this by exploring how most business leaders overcomplicate brand.

So they brand is always sub-optimal.


Anyhow, I recently spoke about this on LinkedIn.

Baaghil saw it.


Asked me to appear on his global podcast.

And, later, invited me to join his global consultancy portal, TakeAnswers.


Unconventional thinking.

Attracts unconventional people.

And as a consequence.

Unconventional things happen to you.

Try it.

Throw your opinion out there.

Be brave.

Who knows what might happen?

Roger Blight was in my team of Brand Consultants.

At the first Brand Consultancy that I founded, Violet Bick.

Roger Blight.

Before Roger and I worked together.

Roger had been Financial Director of Nike (UK).

He was with Nike for 18 years through much of the 80’s and 90’s .

So Roger worked at a comparatively small Nike at the beginning.

And the stories Roger told about how Nike grew.

Are as important now as they were 40 years ago.

From 3 to 1.

Nike were third in the world behind Reebok and Adidas when the 1991 recession hit.

Adidas and Reebok, fearful of the future, adjusted brand communication and (amongst other things) reduced advertising spend.

They held their breath.

Roger and Nike didn’t.

They kept on investing budget, time and energy.

They kept the brand breathing.

And Nike leapfrogged them both to emerge as the global number 1 just a few years later.

Business as Usual. 

OK, so it’s not ‘Business as Usual’ at the moment.

But – more than we think – it really is ‘Consumers as Usual’.

Consumers today are the same people they were 6 months ago.

They’ll still be fundamentally the same in a couple of years.

And there is always a gap between what consumers say they will do and what they actually do.

Especially when data is gathered in exceptional times.

Don’t Pause (Completely).

So shift shape and shift gear yes.

But don’t pause completely.

Don’t hold your breath.

Because you may not last very long at all if you do.




I have to add an endnote to this apparently simple bit of, ‘keep spending (budget, energy and/or time)’ advice.

As well as my apparently simple observation that ‘people stay the same no matter what’.

Especially because I am the Founder of Always Wear Red.

A brand dedicated to changing the way consumers buy clothing.

Banking on (and influencing) morphing consumer priorities.


All I am saying is be careful of these two things:

  1. Be careful you don’t make the mistake of seeing the world how you’d like it to be – instead of how it really is.
  2. Be careful you don’t make any long term decisions for your brand based on what people are feeling, saying and doing right now.

So if it sounds like I am zigging and zagging a bit with this subject.

I am.

And if it sounds like I am almost ‘advising myself’.

And reminding myself to be careful of the two things I’ve mentioned just above, too.

I am.


This is important.

Because, in summary, whilst there will be some behavioural changes in your customer base because of the virus.

History tells us that the change us unlikely to be anywhere near as extreme as you imagine.

And it is also unlikely to last anywhere near a long as you’d imagine either.

If you want to chat about this, please email me at as a get-go.

You’re welcome anytime.

This is interesting.

It’s the story.

(Albeit from just one persons perspective).

Of what happened when Tropicana rebranded in 2009.

7 Minutes. 

It’s a 7 minute read.

But it is worth 7 minutes of your time.

Because of this:

When Tropicana hired legendary ad agency Arnell in 2008, they surely didn’t expect that, after five months of design work, launch planning, and $35 million in marketing spend, they’d lose 20% of their revenue within a month — about $20 million total in missed sales.

But that’s exactly what happened.

It’s a smart little story about babies.

Bath water.

And how some marketing people have no idea of what is important and what is not.

A neat story from Niklas Göke.

I sent one of my clients a love letter this week.

Exploring the best things for them to do in 2020.

With regards to business and brand communication.

In the context of my role as a brand chap.

And a much-changed, virus-impacted world.


It’s not possible for me to suggest what everyone should do.

But it is possible to highlight trends and information that everyone should be cognisant of.

Here’s (some of) what I wrote:

…in the meantime, here are two things for you to ponder. On top of our impending chats about the Brand Framework and Adcepts etc.

Deep Recession, Brand and Business Communication.

Historically, when deep recessions and/or global crises happen, businesses of all kinds and sizes – pause.

It’s understandable. But historical data shows that, without exception, it is also exactly the wrong thing to do.

So, to my two points. And by the way this is not just my opinion and experience. If you were to read the narrative from infinitely more recognised and renowned voices than mine (Mark Ritson, Dave Trott et al), the message is the same.

1. To stop communicating altogether is a big mistake. The most powerful brands and brand owners in the word – P&G for example – actually increase or at the very least maintain energy and spend. Knowing that in the space created by the other choices in the market’s inactivity, they will achieve a far greater eSOV (Excess Share of Voice). The strategy should be slightly different, but not much. And certainly not like this tactical rubbish:

2. On the other side of this dark period, so (let’s say) 2022, the world will be largely the same as it was in 2019. This is something that data shows – without exception or outliers – after every global crisis. So those that think (wishfully) that the world will change dramatically in this way or that, are wrong. As is anyone that is asking how we all feel right now, and then developing any medium to long term brand strategy around the findings. In short, a strong brand’s brand strategy remains largely unchanged. Because good brands know that brand is playing the long game. Even through a pandemic. We can explore short term marketing campaigns of course. But they will be designed to end as we come through this unusual but temporary period. Because as the situation changes back, so too will the consumer…

My comments are just that.


But have a think.

Are these comments relevant to you, too?


The world has changed.

But this will pass.

And one thing I do know.

Is that it will be harder for you to switch back on from complete disconnection.

Than it will be to accelerate on from the place in the consumer’s mind that – right now – you worked hard to hold on to.

This will pass.

Be ready.

This Coronavirus thing.

I have got this right havent I?

That all these containment measures relating to coronavirus are doing.

Are moving the queue around.

The queue of who will get it when.

That’s all we’re doing isn’t it?

The Numbers. 

There are 7,600,000,000 (7.6 billion) people in the world.

And without a vaccine, 1.0% to 3.5% of us will die of Coronavirus.

So between 76,000,000 (76 million) and 266,000,000 (266 million) of the world’s population will die of Coronavirus.

And as there are 66,650,000 people in the UK.

Then between 666,500 and 1,999,500 people will die of Coronavirus in the UK.

If everyone gets Coronavirus once.


And as things stand today.

35,000 people have died in the UK according to the government.

That’s 1.5% of a recorded 240,000 cases.

Just the Beginning. 

If people in the UK continue to die at a rate of 1.5% of infections.

Then if everyone gets it.

Then 999,750 people will die in the UK from Coronavirus.

And as 35,000 deaths is where we are at the moment.

We are under 3.5% of the way through the pandemic.

Is that right?

Is this really just the (very) beginning?

I like things like this.

Because they can be accessed by everyone.

And because they feel safe.


And inclusive.


I’m not a big fan of poetry, really.

I’m not a big fan in that, I probably wouldn’t sit and read a load of it.

But I am a massive fan of what I think poetry represents.


Improved confidence.





And that is why I think this website is brilliant.

Power Poetry.

Worth a look.

It sounds a bit random.

But it’s because I notice things.

I notice when Grand Designs is on the telly.

I notice when there’s some clever architect showing off some impressive drawings.

Asking us to imagine her or his vision.

I notice not just what the drawing is of.

I notice the drawing itself.

The actual pen marks, I mean.

The buildings.

The landscape.

The people.

The trees.


I see it as an art form, you see.

These beautiful little sketches.

Perfectly executed.

Yet seemingly so effortless.


And sketchy.

I just like them.


So I was really interested when architects Foster and Partners decided to help us with tree drawing.

Need a new hobby?

Try this.

Here’s David Byrne, Mauro Refosco and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

Performing David Byrne and Brian Eno’s ‘One Fine Day’ at National Sawdust’s 2019 Spring Gala.

It’s nice.



Raw and interesting too, I think.

Like much of what David Byrne does.

Here are the words.

Saw the wanderin’ eye, inside my heart
Shouts and battle cries, from every part
I can see those tears, every one is true
When the door appears, I’ll go right through, oh
I stand in liquid light, like everyone

I built my life with rhymes, to carry on
And it gives me hope, to see you there
The things I used to know, that one fine

One fine day

In a small dark room, where I will wait
Face to face I find, I contemplate
Even though a man is made of clay
Everything can change that one fine —

One fine day

Then before my eyes, is standing still
I beheld it there, a city on a hill
I complete my tasks, one by one
I remove my masks, when I am done

Then a peace of mind fell over me —
In these troubled times, I still can see
We can use the stars, to guide the way
It is not that far, the one fine —

One fine day

Here’s the tune:


Who do you think you’re talking to?

Opinion Formers?

Or Opinion Followers?

Opinion Formers.

Opinion Formers.

They are the kinds of people that are hungry for.

And that seek out.

Unusual ideas, approaches and people.

Opinion Formers seek out the outrageous and the brave.

Opinion Formers seek out the new and the interesting.

Then, from everything that they observe.

And everything that they learn.

They germinate then transmit fresh, new ideas, approaches and opinions.

Very often siting and/or reframing what they have learned from the unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting people they chose to listen to.

Opinion Followers.

Opinion Followers are happy to soak up what everyone else soaks up.

They tend not to question things too much.

They just want know ‘what’s going on’.

Opinion Formers versus Opinion Followers.

If you have something to say.

Something unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting.

And you want to reach people with your notions.

And change things with your notions.

Seek out Opinion Formers.

Because Opinion Formers become an actual channel for you.

And as each Opinion Formers comes with their own Opinion Followers.

Plus the attention of other Opinion Formers.

Your messages travel further.


If all you do is talk to Opinion Followers.

You’ll grow your reach slowly and organically I suppose.

But Opinion Followers don’t have much of an audience.

So it’s all a bit.



And it is not in the nature of an Opinion Follower to site and/or reframe what they have learned from the unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting people they chose to listen to.

They’ll nod politely.

And make you feel you have something to say.

But they won’t challenge you.

And so it follows that you have to be a bit braver if you choose to converse with Opinion Formers.

Because Opinion Formers ask more questions.

What do you mean?

What do you mean?

What do you mean?

So you’d better have a good answer.


If you have an opinion.

And you think your opinion matters.

Behave like an Opinion Former.

That means being unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting.

And look to converse with other Opinion Formers.

Other unusual, outrageous, brave, new and interesting people.

That way.

You have the potential not only to change your world.

But you really do have the potential to change the world, too.

Following my story about bullshit, blend in, Coronavirus-juxtaposed advertising.


My friend Shaughn McGurk sent me this.



THIS is good advertising.

So memorable.

So likeable.

So right-for-the-times.

So different.

And so clear.

It almost hurts.

(And makes those brands I reference in the story ‘INVISIBLE’.

And even more-so their agencies.

Look ever-more fucking stupid).

Go here: