On the 14th of October, esteemed brand consultant Robert Bean visited the YCN Library to share six books that have informed his systematic approach to branding.
Robert Bean is a strategic brand consultant, proffering astute observations and incisive analysis to help businesses distill the essence of their brands. His book, Winning in Your Own Way: The Nine and a Half Golden Rules of Branding has been one of the most popular additions to the branding section of our Library and on Wednesday 14th October we welcomed Robert to YCN to further explain his methods and to contribute six titles that have inspired his love of language.
Based on the idea of a 'Single Organising Principle', Robert’s shrewd strategies help a brand align its principles to define and articulate a compelling and focussed proposition. Believing that understanding lies within the origin, Robert has devised a formulaic approach to uncover the inner workings of a brand, expertly depicted in chalk on YCN's blackboard. By asking pertinent questions that expose a brand's core values, Robert is able to construct pithy, purposeful statements on which brands can build their essential foundations. And when a company is united in its purpose, it can move forward efficiently as one "to the land of milk and honey". Robert’s outlook is holistic in its considerations, and the impact of his work encompasses a brand’s culture, products, services and public face.
Robert began by briefly touching upon his childhood. He was born in Brazil and resided there until the age of thirteen, when he moved with his family to England and attended boarding school. Feeling like an outsider in both countries, Robert's fascination with questioning origins and the structure of language began. His first job – aged eighteen – was in the heady, explosive advertising industry of the eighties, and gave him a thorough grounding of brand strategy and expression. A turning point came when Robert was offered the role of Worldwide Head of Advertising at BT, which was an unexpected but unmissable challenge. In four years, Robert and his team had defined BT with It's good to talk, which in turn fundamentally changed the purpose, profit margins and prospects of the company, as well as revolutionising BT's internal communications.
Upon his return from the client side of advertising, Robert set up the agency B&MC with two partners, which – "like magnesium, burned brightly but briefly" – due to an irreparable rift caused by a multi-million pound account. However, Robert's ability to distill, conceive and articulate had been noted, and a dream brief was offered to him by global car manufacturer Honda. Following Mr Honda's death eight years prior, the company were determined to bottle up the 'Honda-ness' so as to never lose sight of their brand identity. Robert conducted research, interviews and collected evidence from the company's history, which formed a concise document that embodied the Honda brand, culminating in one of the industry's most abiding concepts The Power of Dreams.
Since then, Robert has been lending his expertise to brands such as BMW, Dishoom, Homebase and House of Fraser, each time applying his systematic approach to define the Single Organising Principle and ultimately creating enduring brands.
Robert's Book Selection
1. The Complete Poems of John Keats
2. The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz
3. The Sleep Book by Dr Seuss
4. Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of Modern Life by Tom Morton
5. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden
6. Caught by Victoria Bean
All the above titles, including Robert's own book Winning in your own Way are available to browse and borrow in the YCN Library.
With thanks to Sam Bush for the photos above.
Location:72 Rivington St,
London, EC2A 3AY,
Start:14th October, 2015 at 6:30pm
End:14th October, 2015 at 8:00pm