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Can eSports be bigger than football?

How does a game go from a simple playaround to a global sport? And how long does that process take? For football, the world’s favourite spectator sport, it took approximately 2,270 years. And that’s only if we attribute football’s origination to the Chinese game cuju. Roughly translated as "kick ball", cuju (also known as tsu’ chu) began during the Qin dynasty and involved soldiers kicking a leather ball into a net strung between two posts. A couple of thousand years later, we seem to have gone full circle, with England’s favourite son Wayne Rooney rumoured to be considering a move to the Far East. Sport is a business and, as such, the rush to monetise players, franchises and the sports them

The game of life and how commerce is influenced by play

Choose sounds, press 19, 65, nine, then 17 and you’ll hear a chime. Hold ‘B’ and press ‘Start’ then hold ‘X’ and press ‘Start‘. This is the cheat code to choose any level on the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 game. Press a few buttons and a whole new universe opens up to you. It’s all about buttons and keys. People enjoy the challenge to their dexterity and the risk/ reward payoff of a game while the computer does the hard work behind the scenes. Funnily enough, our relationship with commerce, product development and marketing is going much the same way. Why? Games are fun. Playing is fun. Playing a game and winning brings a warm, empowering feeling of success. And people like that feeling. When we’re

A letter to my younger self – the advice I wish I’d had

When does middle age officially start these days? Is 60 the new 30? Are millennials really fast-tracking towards knitting and Ugg boots, bypassing the joyous indiscretions of youth in favour of gluten-free, spinning-class, Guardian-tutting, ‘lights out by 9pm’ sensibility – all fuelled by probiotic, Bullet-blended, curly kale smoothies and a thousand grains of muesli? As I creak towards my 40th birthday it’s getting increasingly hard to tell what colour-coded stage of life I’ve actually reached. I may have no certainty on when I can finally sign out of Skype for good but 17 years into a career in marketing I reckon I’ve earned the benefit of hindsight and can make a (somewhat) informed asses

Going to a dark place - Consumers use the dark web to avoid brands, and we have to accept it

Every social media-savvy adult is aware that Google, Facebook, Amazon and their ilk are not so much service providers as weapons-grade data miners. Their ability to understand, target, retarget and exploit their users means that consumers are left seemingly powerless to their glittery charms. They seem to know what we want before we do – and then handily serve it through an ad or pop-up with a one-click Paypal link just at the instant we’re ready to buy. The social networks are particularly good at utilising and monetising the hidden knowledge they glean as they work out how to justify their stratospheric stock valuations. It reminds me of that wonderful quote on the blindness of the average

New tech for old problems: how to keep up with the disruptors Can marketing innovate alongside era-d

It's getting to the point where no tech company feels it can be taken seriously unless it's disrupting something. Anything. Just finding an old problem and solving it with a simple, intuitive solution. This newfangled trend for exposing the limitations of an industry by inventing a solution through the use of technology, and rapidly dominating it until a multibillion-dollar IPO, is all we read about in the pop-up blogs of TechCrunch, Forbes and LinkedIn. And it’s great – really it is. Even for this wizened hack of a marketer (who spurns Apple products as plug-in jewellery for tweens and can’t work a satnav). We marketing types are normally quite handy when it comes to adopting innovation: PP

You can’t ditch your brand health for performance marketing – even in digital

It’s difficult to create true differentiation today, but even in online-only industries you still need brand marketing to make performance marketing effective. Panini football stickers – a great product, no doubt about it. No skill required, inherently social and with a low barrier to entry. They were the ultimate in cheap, disposable and sharable media. A fantastic brand. The yo-yo was also a winner. Everyone at school had one, and they could all master at least a few tricks. It was an egalitarian toy – almost Communist in its universal equitability. Duncan’s yo-yos were the brand of choice for any discernable ‘dog walker’. They were crucial. Then skateboards came along – more expensive, ha

Is it time to update your brand architecture?

The world's best brands aren't at the top of the recall, respect and success leader boards by accident. They constantly reinvest in themselves to stay fresh, relevant and exciting to an ever changing and expanding audience of customers. Starting with the foundations, a brand architecture starts with a Mission Statement. From this paragraph defining the goals and objectives of the brand you expand into a positioning statement and brand personality. This triptych acts as a tripod for your brand's tone of voice, copy style and design style. Your logo, if it needs updating, is the cherry on top and if you feel a strapline is beneficial in certain media then you can summarise your mission in a ca

How Brand Architects deliver a better version of your brand

Over the past 10 years I've led teams that have created six brands from scratch and I've delivered brand refresh projects for several more, including:- Pinnacle (formerly Pinnacle Sports) Heart of Vegas - the hugely successful social casino by product madness, now owned by Aristocrat Foxy Bingo - at the time owned by Jackpot Party - the UK online casino owned by WMS For the majority of these I was the key stakeholder and I've been honing my own methodology for refreshing brands over each project in turn. In simple terms, and depending on your budget it works like this:- 1/ Research Phase - you ask your customers and internal stakeholders a number of questions relating to their per

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