Michael Wolff

Just around the corner from Michael Wolff's home, near King's Cross station in North London, a house bears a blue plaque. It says: 'Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov [Lenin] stayed here.' No doubt the Bolshevik leader would have had little time for concepts like corporate branding - although he did create a new identity for Russia and a new brand of politics. By all accounts he had a pretty good grasp of symbols, colour and storytelling to boot.

So with thoughts of Lenin's blue plaque lingering, it seems a spooky coincidence to sit down with Wolff and discover that Russia is currently one of his favourite topics. In a career dating back to the 1960s, the branding expert has worked for the likes of Audi, Volkswagen, Shell, BP, WH Smiths, 3i, Bovis Homes and many other big-name clients. But rather like Lenin, he prefers looking to the future and talking about change rather than gazing backwards. His current fascination is with a Russian bank, for which he's working on a complete rebrand: name, visual identity, retail decor - everything's up for debate.

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