Author: Ben

A tale of two bottle caps

Two bottle caps with a different approach to brand

I drunk a couple of bottles of craft beer the other day and the bottle caps got me thinking…

The cap on the left is from Thornbridge. They’ve put their logo on the beer cap, along with their three values: Passion, Knowledge and Innovation. I don’t mind their values being there, but I dislike two of those overplayed words: you shouldn’t need to remind yourself or others you’re passionate about something and innovation is too science-y for beer.  Overall, it’s better than leaving it blank, but a bit straightforward.

I prefer the bottle cap on the right. It made me laugh when I opened it and made me proud to be drinking a craft beer. All about identity. I can’t remember the brewery though!

Agile brand?

Here’s a presentation I recently gave at the mighty Five Foot Six design agency. Can agile be applied to brand strategy?

I’m really interested in this idea. I think some elements of agile fit really well and have the potential to solve problems that brand strategy face:

  • Focus on business need
  • Minimum Viable Product / Brand
  • Communicate constantly

In true agile style this an experiment! I’d love to know your thoughts.



My last project at Livity – for a C level team in Centrica. Eight days from brief to delivery.

  • Research
  • Brand strategy
  • Naming
  • Visual identity design

Speak Easy

Whilst at Livity I led the brand element for a multi agency Department of Health project aiming to get young people talking about sex drugs drinking and smoking.

We called it Speak Easy. It’s currently manifested in the 4:01 show, a YouTube show which uses TV, culture and celebrities as conversation springboards to get people talking.

  • Research and insight
  • Brand strategy
  • Naming
  • Visual identity – managing designers


Plotr screenshot

Whilst at Livity I ran the branding project for Plotr – the Number 10 careers inspiration project. The brand inspires young people to do what they love through a digital service that guides them through life’s journey.

  • Research and insight
  • Brand strategy
  • Naming
  • Managing designers for brand identity
  • Reporting to Number 10 and ultimately presenting to David Cameron’s director of strategy Steve Hilton.


Nike and green teens

Mind board of green teen

Whilst at Livity I brought in business (via Twitter) from Nike Better World, Nike’s sustainability brand.

Ten days later we’d delivered two projects for Nike’s sustainable business division and we knew a whole lot more about London’s green teens. I loved this project, super hard work, really tight timescales but all-consuming and fascinating. Props to Lydia Thorold who was amazing. Thanks to all the inspiring young people we met.

The Stake

What would you do with £100k? This familiar, back of the bus conversation was the hook for The Stake – a campaign to increase financial literacy I developed whilst at Livity.

We won a pitch from Channel 4, convinced Barclays to give us £100k, which we used to and gave it away to young people who could suggest and develop ideas, learn skills and vote for their favourite via an online platform.

The upshot: over 1,000 ideas entered, 10,000 votes, 100,000 visits and six winning ideas brought into fruition.

We won the Marketing Agency Association’s Best strategic thinking 2012.

Coke and recycling

I consulted to Livity on their Coke recycling pitch and joined as Head of Concept and Strategy when we beat Iris to win it.

The brief: how to use the Coke brand to encourage people to recycle plastic Coke bottles.

Our answer: Celebrate recycling by setting up spontaneous recycling stunts. Train a team of young ‘Coke Content Creators’ to capture the stunts. Mix this with youth created and curated lifestyle content and share in a ‘sparkling stream of fresh content’ that communicated and normalised recycling.

Making energy interesting

The onzo energy meter stuck on a fridge

I joined the clean tech start-up Onzo as the eighth employee.

We developed a new language for energy, making it interesting through context and comparison.

Onzo stood out from all the other brands in the energy space, which grew to include Microsoft and Google, because we built a human brand packed full of character and humour; our monitor had a magnetic back so it stuck to the fridge – the centre of home life.

Design Business Awards: 24hr Inclusive Design Challenge

The 24hr Inclusive Design Challenge matches top design teams with disabled users to solve accessibility problems. It’s run by the Royal College of Art.

I joined Sprout Design‘s team to create a video about the challenge. We immersed ourselves into Sally’s world, who has really limited sight, identifying a need around viewing large scale maps and magnifying numbers and directions. They designed a ‘wand’ – a gesture based digital camera and projector to capture and display photos.

I filmed and edited the video in the 24hrs, which formed part of their winning entry. Yes, I exported the video in the taxi to the presentation.

Phew this was an intense experience! Getting a glimpse into Sally’s world was humbling. Creating the winning film was satisfying. Interviewing Micheal Wolff was hugely inspiring.