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Paul Bailey
James Greenfield

The theme for the night was brand vs branding and saw we welcomed Paul Bailey, founder of Brand In Process and design consultancy 1977 Design and James Greenfield, co-founder of design studio Koto and ex-Creative Director of Design Studio, the London studio behind the Airbnb rebrand.

London is guilty of dominating the design scene of the UK, but with events like Thread this tide is changing. My experience of thread is a friendly crowd wanting to engage with all the speakers. I’d recommend checking it out whoever is speakingJames Greenfield, Founder of Koto

Both speakers were asked to discuss how they typically approach a branding brief, what the early stage thinking and process looks like, how they developed and flesh out concepts and how these concepts are then rolled out across different mediums and applications.

Paul kicked things off by talking about reputation and relationships, the difference between a ‘brand’ and branding, and the evolutionary emotional responses behind what a brand means to people.

He also discussed the idea that “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”, talking about opinions on brands in the digital age, the challenges this raises for brand designers and the fact that we are only beginning to see how the internet is changing how people interact with businesses and organisations. He went on to say that “a brand can act as a platform to shape reciprocal and ongoing relationships that we value, and that create value for both people and organisation”.

James, founder and creative director of London-based design studio Koto then shared his considerable knowledge and insight into the world of branding, discussing the fact that rebranding is a way to problem solve, and that implementing “design thinking” as a way to use practical, creative solutions for a better result further down the line, involves empathy, understanding and innovation. He took us through a case study for a recent branding project Koto had completed for New Zealand based start-up and spoke about the idea of trust in branding and the best way to bring about change.

Thank you to both Paul and James for sharing such developed and interesting insights into the often confusing world of branding!