By Marcus Leach
Ahead of the next in a series of Like Minds Business Breakfasts, Fresh Business Thinking caught up with the inspirational Robert Bean, of Robert Bean Branding Co. fame, who will be the next guest speaker.
Robert started his career as a fresh-faced 18 year old Production Assistant in 1978. Since then he has worked in a number of London’s leading advertising agencies, including DDB, Lowe Howard-Spink, and WCRS, where he ran the BMW account.
But it was his love of the anatomy of brands and branding that made him go out on his own, so since then he has worked for himself, in the shape of BeanMC, BANC and, most recently, The Robert Bean Branding Co.
Fresh Business Thinking: In a nutshell what is your business?
Robert Bean: In a nutshell it's helping CEOs, it might be founders, people running businesses, find their single most compelling ownable and sustainable proposition As a result of which making sure that is driven through the culture of business and their products and reputation.
FBT:What was the inspiration behind it?
RB: Well, after many years in the advertising business I came to learn that actually at the very best of companies, the real genius of it, started inside of the companies. It was what they were advertising. At BMW we made some brilliant advertising through the 80s and 90s. But where the real genius started was with the engineers and their easels designing cars. The whole ethos of that company was the most eye-opening moment for me, that made me realise that the whole notion of branding is an inside out one, where of course advertising is much more outside outside. BMW first lit the spark for me. There were some earlier companies in my career, but it was at BMW that things really came alive. Since then I have been working for myself doing it, for dozens of companies across dozens of categories, including Honda, Body Shop and GlaxoSmithKline.
FBT: What is your business philosophy?
RB: Focus. If you want a short, sharp one it's focus. Absolutely focus, focus on one thing and master it.
FBT: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18 year-old self?
RB: At 18 it is all about exploring, go out and make mistakes, make wrong turns and learn from them. I started working at 18 straight after school, and have been at it for 35 years since. I look back and think I could have done with a bit of time off to be a bit madder, in a good way of course.
FBT: Why have you chosen to talk at the Like Minds breakfast?
RB: Like Minds is an intellectual playground where thinkers, strategists, agents provocateurs, innovators, challengers and mavericks can open up, share ideas and be inspired in a warm, welcoming and world-wide environment. If you haven’t been, go. You’ll see the future there; most likely, yours.
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