So Leigh, what were you doing before FPCG?
I was thinking in the innovation space, working on new product and brand concepts for clients such as Estée Lauder and Intel. It wasn’t about “how many pixels does that align from the edge?’”, it was about “how can we use creative thinking as a vehicle to really make brands and stuff better?” (something I have always been passionate about). Prior to that I was working for myself and doing some creative gun slinging for agencies of various shapes and sizes, looking at design in a broad sense, across any channel, any sector. And before that I was at a small and wonderful boutique agency, learning a mixture of graphic and retail interior design while moonlighting as a barman to pay the bills.
What's the best thing about what you do?
The ‘moment of clarity’. It’s that precise moment when you know you’ve solved it. I don’t think is a scientific data-controlled moment, it’s a gut feeling that can’t really be quantified. Whether it’s all by yourself on the train or in a team round a table, it’s the very moment when all the ideas, the blood, sweat and tears all boil down and become that clear answer you were searching for.
What do you think makes a brand?
Integrity. Knowing exactly who you are and what you stand for.
Tell us about one of your work highlights
We’ve been working on a really exciting prototype, Savi, which is designed around changing the way we communicate within the pensions sector. The prototype looks at the next 3-5 years and changing consumer behaviour, using a variety of digital tech like voice to improve user experience. The project came from this simple brief: where will pensions be in five years time? What a great brief - pure blue sky thinking. I think this is a type of project that a lot of companies fear but it can be really great to get out of your comfort zone and follow your imagination.
What brands do you admire?
I think Morrisons has a lot of small gestures that show they listen to their customers. Things like the no music hours for a ‘calmer shopping experience’, the money back for returning used plastic bags incentive and the little free gingerbread man with every online home delivery all add to the brand experience. Adobe are doing great things too - they have a very clearly defined purpose and audience and they weren’t afraid of reinventing themselves to completely change their business model, from one-off to subscription only. I also see people as brands and admire lots of people including Christopher Nolan and Brian Cox - big minds, making concepts simple and reliable delivery/quality.
If you could only suggest one thing for a brand to focus on what would it be?
Listening. Listen to the people who work, live and breathe your brand day in day out as well as your customers. Always put the consumer first. We’ve heard it so much over the years and it’s something a lot of brands say they do, but only a handful follow it through. So listen to real wants and needs because that’s where I believe a brand’s real light should shine.
I can’t give just one so…The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear, both By Patrick Rothfuss. Both books create such a lovely sense of immersion, I’ve been waiting a lifetime for book three. I love fantasy books - they are my moments of true escapism. I feel completely immersed when I read them. I wish I had the grammatical skills to write a book - maybe one day I will...
Jammy Dodger. Take from that what you will…
Top advice you've ever been given?
Treat others as you want to be treated.