You want to create a new brand?, Tell me about your childhood.

The best advice I ever received on being a brand strategist is not to read books on branding. Creatives love this sort of counter-intuitive thinking.

Of course, I’ve read heaps of books on the subject. There are always a couple on the go. But the essence of this advice is a fundamental truth – brands are about people: the people who start them and the people who engage with them. To have any chance of understanding people, you need to read, listen, watch, think and talk about everything: philosophy, art, sport, business, pop culture, psychology, history, biology. All brand strategist are aspiring polymaths.

At Create & Co, the starting point of any brand development is broad-sweeping and often intense conversations with our clients. Like all good conversations, they can lead to anywhere into the past, or into the future. They are conversations about childhood, music, movies, travel, family, first jobs, and inspiring teachers. They explore successes and failures, dreams and ambitions. They are conversations about everything. You get my point?

It is amazing where you can discover the origins of an idea that has manifested into a business idea decades later. And often it is there, among the still-glowing embers of a long-forgotten feeling or memory, that the best brand ideas can be found.

The birth of a new brand is often an emotional moment for our clients. When we talk about finding what lies at the heart of a brand, we are talking about what lies in the heart of the brand’s founder. A great brand is personal.

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