Has Wally Lost it?

I’m not just trying to be controversial here, but at the end of last month, I wrote about the new Wally Olins book on branding which I bought to see if we could learn anything new from the man who taught us everything about branding.

This is it here.

Wally Olins: The Brand Handbook

Well, having now read it cover to cover, I have to say I am a little disappointed. Reading the small print, it is billed more as a handbook on ‘how to do it’ than a book exploring the outer edges of branding theory, but it felt more like a beautifully designed ad for Saffron than anything a decent working practitioner could learn much from.

Maybe we just take it for granted these days, how wide branding projects are and what we get to stick our noses in within any business, but I felt as though this was a bit of a sell out by one of my heroes!

One thing he did say that was really worth reinforcing was the section towards the end about research within a branding context. We have batted on about this for years saying that focus groups are a creativity sink where the bland will always triumph over the brave and not a place to discover great ideas. Thankfully, Wally agrees.

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Branding needs rebranding

Have a read of this article in the Sunday Times about Saffron looking at rebranding Gordon Brown and New Labour.

Click this link to read it

Ignoring the politics of it, Wally Olins makes a few points that we have been batting on about for for a few years now.

1. The more you advertise a bad product, the faster it will fail.

2. Changing a logo on its own will change nothing – other than the logo.

3. Branding itself needs rebranding – it has a bad name because there are too many people looking to just do (1) and (2) above without any thought to all the other stuff which is, perhaps even more important.

We read Wally’s first book years ago and it is brilliant.

Wally Olins On Brand

I guess his second will be just as good too. I’ve just bought this myself, so will report back soon as to whether he adds anything new to the mix.

Wally Olins: The Brand Handbook

We believe that David Milliband will be the next leader anyway!