Thriving on disloyalty

Thriving on disloyalty

We’re on the top floor of the Whitechapel Gallery on a grey February afternoon. Outside we’re surrounded by tower cranes, as the glass boxes of the City edge further into the old east end. Inside, thirty arts marketers come together to talk about how their world – and branding in particular – is shi...

by Robert Jones - 06 Jun 2016

The branding of doing good

The branding of doing good

Our friends at the Big Lottery Fund have put to the world a big question: What’s the future of doing good? As brand people, here’s our perspective. Doing good happens in a marketplace, where donors, social organisations and recipients interact in complicated ways. And in any marketplace, branding pl...

by Robert Jones - 02 May 2016

Repairing party brands

Repairing party brands

Of the ten most hated brands in Britain, four are political parties, according to recent research. So there’s a bit of a problem here. And it matters when political parties are the organisations that enable people to take part in democracy. So what do we do?

by Robert Jones - 14 Apr 2015

Seven things we learned by doing a MOOC

Seven things we learned by doing a MOOC

It was on a plane high above the Atlantic, in January 2013, that I first came across MOOCs. An Economist article was reporting on a new phenomenon from America – massive open online courses – and how they could transform universities. A month later, back at work at Wolff Olins in London, I found mys...

by Robert Jones - 30 Mar 2015

5 surprising things about CEOs

5 surprising things about CEOs

We’ve just launched our report on leadership, Impossible and now. Behind the report, there’s a team of 20 people, six months of work, over 50 interviews, and a ton of data. Launch day got me reflecting on all that work. Some of what we heard was exactly what we’d expected. But a lot wasn’t, and here...

by Robert Jones - 02 Mar 2015

This week from Kitchen...

This week from Kitchen...

Three essential ways to lead

by Robert Jones - 24 Nov 2014

 A five point plan for Tesco

A five point plan for Tesco

1. Don’t try to compete with Aldi and Lidl. Your business model is too expensive. (You could buy one of them, though I guess they’re not for sale.)

by Robert Jones - 05 Sep 2014

A school for ambitious leaders

A school for ambitious leaders

Wolff Olins is a child of the 1960s. One of our first clients was The Beatles. Shaking things up, challenging the status quo, making a difference in the world has always been a part of our DNA. This is in part why we started Kitchen. It’s a school for ambitious leaders who want to build businesses ...

by Robert Jones - 06 Aug 2014

Four good reasons why universities need brands

Four good reasons why universities need brands

It’s the league table season. Universities are once again congratulating themselves on going up, or agonising about going down, or scared of the institutions biting at their heels. It’s a strange world, in which universities are obsessed with each other, rather than looking out at the world. They’r...

by Robert Jones - 26 Jun 2014

Must purpose be good?

Must purpose be good?

‘Must purpose be good?’ It’s a summer evening in a Victorian library in the Science Museum in London, and I’m on the panel at a seminar called ‘Purpose Matters’, organised Hall & Partners, the research agency. Of all the questions we’re asked, this is the best. It made me think hard about this ubiq...

by Robert Jones - 12 Jun 2014

A new way to make brands

A new way to make brands

For the last ten Monday afternoons, as winter turned into spring, I’ve been working with my 22 brand leadership students on three real-life client projects. Classroom 2.03 is a bit of a hothouse, literally and metaphorically, so it’s been heady stuff. And week by week, it’s become clearer that the ...

by Robert Jones - 14 Apr 2014

Learning at work

Learning at work

Learning at work from Wolff Olins on Vimeo.

by Robert Jones - 13 Mar 2014

What's wrong with brand thinking?

What's wrong with brand thinking?

It struck me one grey winter’s morning at the end of last year: is my whole way of thinking wrong? We’re starting a new business at the moment in Wolff Olins – a kind of school of branding. We’re getting advice from the experts in start-ups. And on that winter’s morning, the advice arrives, in blac...

by Robert Jones - 03 Mar 2014

Is brand the cause or the effect?

Is brand the cause or the effect?

By Robert Jones Robert Jones is Head of New Thinking at Wolff Olins and Visiting Professor at The University of East Anglia.

by Robert Jones - 10 Feb 2014

How we learn at work

How we learn at work

‘Executive education’ is a phrase I hate. Rather like ‘executive homes’, it suggests a neat, suburban world of hierarchy and aspiration: not one I want to live in. Luckily, that world is turning itself upside down – not least because of the democratising effects of online learning – into something...

by Robert Jones - 30 Jan 2014

Five versions of brand

Five versions of brand

Branding keeps changing. The way brands work – their role in the world – is constantly evolving. But it’s possible to simplify this complex story into five distinct stages: five versions of brand.

by Robert Jones - 21 Oct 2013

Who needs a brand agency?

Who needs a brand agency?

In the digital world, what’s the role of brand agencies? What value can they bring? Does anyone really need them? For Wolff Olins these are not abstract questions. In fact, almost 40 of us have just spent three days in New York exploring them in workshops about our industry and our company’s growth...

by Robert Jones - 08 Oct 2013

To learn... teach

To learn... teach

By Robert Jones September is here, which of course means back to school. My students at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, have finished their coursework, exams and dissertations and are now entering the world of work. Through the year, they work hard, learn a lot, and have a great time – a...

by Robert Jones - 02 Sep 2013

Doing well

Doing well

By Robert Jones Turn on the radio in the morning, and one company or another is getting it in the neck. Amazon for allegedly not paying taxes. Barclays for bonuses. Last week, it was British Gas for pushing up prices. If businesses increasingly need to create social value as well as commercial value...

by Robert Jones - 11 Mar 2013