Roll back 25 years and few people outside FMCG talked of brands and branding. Back then, even Wally Olins wrote not so much of branding but, instead, of corporate identity. His message, however, was clear: image was an asset to be developed and used strategically, not something to be fiddled with as an afterthought. Brand thinking and business thinking should be synonymous.
Wally Olins died yesterday aged 83, leaving behind a world where talk of branding has become commonplace. Yet the close relationship between brand and business strategy is still a very long way from being universally understood. Too often branding is still mistaken for the lipstick that makes the gorilla that bit more approachable.
We feel that Olins’ impact and legacy are rooted in the fact that he was never content simply to fiddle with the shade and sheen of the lipstick. And he was never afraid to point to the gorilla.