Interview with the Institute of Directors

Institute of Directors Ireland

Brian is the founding Director of BrandCreate Ltd – an international brand development agency with a unique cooperative model of brand consulting. BrandCreate offer world-class brand talent to national and international clients. BrandCreate define, design and deliver brand experience and are ever increasing the breadth and depth of their international creative community to match their clients’ brand communication challenges.

Who or what are your main influences?

I like to think I am a good listener and a good delegator. As such, I listen very carefully to my international brand colleagues who are always bringing new dimensions and fresh perspectives on the changing brand landscape and worldwide client challenges. I am also a fan of personally getting out there and honing my leadership and commercial skills through international travel and business networking abroad. I like to meet as many people as possible with diverse views and business experiences.

What has been your career highlight to date?

I guess there are many highlights in an intense career which has sought to bring positive change to people’s lives through business transformation. The beauty about branding is that it has allowed me work within the strategic heart of client businesses while also re-imaging those businesses, internally and externally, for renewed relevance and commercial advantage. It is deeply satisfying to me to re-present the greatness and uniqueness of what people do for a living so that the brand does justice to all their talent, hard work, commitment and self-belief.

Over the course of your career, what changes have you noticed in what consumers expect from brands?

I would say that people have become stronger brand believers and want brands that are personal to them. Consumers have increasingly understood that brands have values and that you buy into these values as well as into the product or service features. People today know that brands not only brighten and beautify their lives but that they also show a consumer’s discernment and preferences. Brands say something about them. So people have become increasingly emotional about the brands they buy and increasingly brand loyal as a result.

What impact has the changing media landscape had on your business?

One word: digital! The digital transformation of market communications is still very much in train and has become centre-stage in communications planning and creative execution. There are just so many more messaging platforms today and so many more of these that are person-to-person. That makes for powerful and personal marketing, and speed-to-market through digital is a key success factor for successful brand-building. But don’t be fooled:  make sure to get the proposition right!: the research and strategy work-phases that guide decision-making are as necessary as ever (moreso!) for confident and effective market development (and effective spend!).

What advice would you give to younger people / graduates considering a career in your area of work?

Set your sights high and dream to change the world…. somebody’s world, be it an individual, a collective/company or global. If you’re not a dreamer, then the world of brand development is not the place for you. And then, don’t forget, the genius will definitely be in the detail.

In your opinion, who does branding well?

By their very nature, brands are personal and we should be personally-passionate about them. But for me, and thinking internationally-recognisable and enjoyed-everywhere brands, I’d look to Apple, Lexus, Virgin, Next, Nike, Guinness, Coca-Cola, YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, Unilever, Nespresso…… thankfully, we’re spoilt for choice! Creativity plus consistency plus value-for-money is the key…. irresistible!

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Brian McGurk

Brian McGurk