I get asked a lot about brand.

What is brand?

Why is it important?

How does it work?


I read something this week.

That Seth Godin wrote.

And I thought it was neat.

So I stole a bit of it.


Seth’s writing was not actually about brand.

It was about flowers.

He wrote:

Flowers don’t love us.

And he is right of course.

What flowers do do though.

Is remind us that the person who bought them for us loves us.

And from there (excuse the pun) blooms the  bigger story.

Because just from looking at the flowers we are given.

We storytell.


The story we tell ourself is about him or her standing in the florist.

Or at the supermarket.

Or at the petrol station.

Taking the time out.

For you.

Staring at the display.




Then coolly.

Or sheepishly.

Or awkwardly.

Or lovingly.

Or enthusiastically.

Presenting the flowers to you.

And that lovely little story you tell yourself as you look at the flowers.

It plays over and over.

As you pause your life to tell it to yourself.

And to listen to yourself.

And to smile.


Well; that’s how brand works.

Because just like the story is built into flowers.

Stories are built into brands.

And the more personal and vivid the story.

The better the brand.


And so it is that I get asked a lot about brand.

What is brand?

Why is it important?

How does it work?

And now I have the answer.


They’re like flowers.

If all of your work feels like you’re busking.

That’s probably wrong.

But if none of your work feels like you’re busking.

That’s worse.

When I write 50odd it feels like busking.



Trying things.

Learning things.

Some stories feel smart and polished.

And they turn out exactly as I’d like.

Whereas others feel a little weaker.

But they are all necessary.

Because when I am busking.

I am learning.


I’m the Principal Consultant at ANGELFYSH.

ANGELFYSH is a 15 year old Brand Consultancy.

And I work with clients all over the UK.

Simplify. Codify. Storify.

I help clients to Simplify.


And Storify.

Simplify means my clients stop over-complicating and over-communicating, because we find out what the brand really is all about.

Codify means creating frameworks and systems so that the brand can be more easily brought to life across the organisation.

And Storify means I storytell across multiple, coherent media.

(That’s design, marketing, copywriting and more).

But I have to admit that even when I am doing all of this.

Some of the time.

Quite a lot of the time in fact.

I am busking here, too.

I am exploring.

And experimenting.

And creating.

And imagining.

And that’s just the way it should be.

Because whilst the brand theory of Reis and Trout is important to know.

Imagination, spontaneous interpretation, the ability to see and maximise opportunity and a craving for adventure are all important too.

It’s where confident and creative bravery comes from.

And the ability to build and tell a story well.


So think about it.

You can tell when you’re busking.

You can feel it.

And it feels good.

Because you’re not worrying about being judged.

You’re just creating.

And I can highly recommend it.

Because busking is when the magic happens.

I have this other business as I think you know.

Called Always Wear Red.

Always Wear Red has its own e-newsletter now.


It is twice-monthly.

Sent every other Friday at midday.

Is a 60-second read.

And it is your Permission to Pause.

Here’s How It Works.

DOWNTIME encourages you to do between 60 seconds and 60 minutes of – well – nothing.

For 3 Reasons:

  1. Because you are the person you look after least well. And resting (properly) is an immediate way to begin sorting this out.
  2. Because times we do nothing always generate our best notions and ideas.
  3. Because you always do ‘something’ better after a short period of ‘nothing’.

In Summary, the Times You Do Nothing – Can Mean Everything.

And DOWNTIME contains great things to do when you’re doing nothing.


If you get it already.

Please let me know what you think.

And if you don’t get it.

But like the sound of it.

Please sign up here.

Thank you.

The main reason.

That I don’t get around to doing important things.

Or that important things can sometimes feel unpleasant to do.

Is because of sardines.


Identifying something that is important me.

Then squashing it into my day.

Like a sardine in a tin.

Is daft.

But I do do this.


I think of something that I’d like to get done.

Or something that I need to get done.

Then I very often do one of these two things:

  1. Allocate too little time to doing it properly.
  2. Sandwich it. Like a sardine in a tin. Between two other things. So that there is no time to explore. Or innovate. Or get creative with it. Or polish it.



This is me talking to me now.


If something is important to you.


Make time to do it.


Forget sardines.

Otherwise you’ll just feel resentful that it didn’t get done properly.

Or resentful that it didn’t get done at all.

And frustrated that there is no one to blame.

But yourself.

More Time.

If something is important.

Allocate more time than you think you’ll need.

Not less.

Squashing important things together like sardines is daft.

So stop it.

So there we go.

Another one gone.

Well; in a month it will be.

Here endeth another decade.


I lived for 1 and a half years of the 60’s.

All of the 70’s.

All of the 80’s.

All of the 90’s.

The noughties.

And it’s looking like I’ll make it through the 2010 to 2020 decade, too.

So that’s 6 decades so far.


I’ll leave my 7th decade (2020 to 2030) aged 61.

I’ll leave my 8th decade (2030 to 2040) aged 71.

And, if statistically on-par, I’ll leave my 9th decade (2040 to 2050) dead.

I’ll have died in 2049.

Aged 80.

The List.

The big question for me then.

(Whilst I’m on this ‘decades’ thing).

Is what am I going to do with this next decade, then?

This 2020 – 2030 decade.

What’s on the list?

What will happen to me?

And what will I make happen?

Well; if I manage to stay alive, these things will very likely occur.

I’ll see Izobel become a teenager.

I’ll have no mortgage.

I’ll go bald.

I’ll have a life-threatening or life-shaking health scare.

I’ll get married.

I’ll become increasingly eccentric.

(In both how I look and what I do).

I’ll commit to more fitness – as part of my life, not on the edge of my life.

I’ll drink less regularly.

I’ll need two or three new hobbies.

(These hobbies will. 

I sense. 

Be revisiting things that I used to do.

Or just plain odd.

Or both).

I’ll still be working and I will want my work to be really, really significant and valued by a lot of people.

I’ll be volunteering more.

(I’ll be increasingly generous with my time and my learning).

I’ll live somewhere rural.

(With an AGA and a log fire).

I’ll have a soft-top car again.

And I’ll cook more.



It’s strange as I get older.

I am not really thinking:

Things I want to do before I die.

But I am definitely thinking about legacy.

And in my next decade.

The 2030 to 2040 decade.

(Should I get there).

I will be thinking about legacy even more so.

And all I really want as my legacy.

Based on today’s thinking.

Are two things.

Two things.

I’d like Izobel to be aware that she can change the world.

And that the difference she can make for herself, for other people and for the world could be seismic.



And secondly.

Rather more selfishly.

I want to live forever.

Live Forever.

I want to live forever because I want Izobel.

Every now and then.

To ask herself:

What would my dad have said?


What would my dad have done?

And this is good for me to remember.

Because it guides me each day.

To make sure that, by my actions today.


And Izobel’s children.

Will know the answer to those questions tomorrow.

2011 is my favourite.

John Lewis Adverts.

There have been 13 John Lewis adverts.

The first was in 2007.

And it was called ‘Shadow’.


Here’s the set:

2007. Shadow.

2008.  Clues.

2009.  The Feeling.

2010.  A Tribute to the Givers.

2011.  The Long Wait.

2012.  The Journey.

2013.  The Bear and the Hare.

2014.  Monty the Penguin.

2015.  The Man on the Moon.

2016.  Buster the Boxer.

2017. Moz the Monster.

2018. The Boy and the Piano.

2019. Edgar the Dragon.



What about you?

Here they all are: