Why bravery is the secret to successful branding

Bravery in branding. That was one of the key themes emerging from the first-ever Impact conference, a fast-paced, one-day shot of design industry insight and inspiration, hosted by the Computer Arts team in London on Thursday.

Are you brave enough to innovate? Are you brave enough to trust your gut instinct? And are you brave enough to confront problems during creative collaborations?

Courage is integral to any successful partnership, advised Sunita Yeomans, head of creative at Tesco UK marketing, during an inspiring mid-morning session. You have to be brave enough to work with your collaborators through problems, and - if that isn't successful - brave enough to walk away. But perseverance is key, she said.

Brand integrity

Authenticity was another strong idea recurring throughout the day. "If you don't love what you're doing, you can never be authentic," warned AKQA co-founder James Hilton. "You need to love the people you're working for and the vision. Every choice you make will go back to it."

James Hilton at Impact conference

"Human bullshit detectors are high." AKQA's James Hilton telling the Impact audience why without authenticity you have nothing

James Fairbank, head of brand at independent cycling and lifestyle brand Rapha (opens in new tab), echoed the view during his engaging session. Luxury and attention to detail are woven throughout the brand, from the high-end products to the level of service - but what really differentiates Rapha is the passion for cycling at the core of the company:

"It's our long-term ambition to make cycling the best sport in the world," said Fairbank. "What Nike did for running, we'd like to do for cycling."

Design for good

Some incredibly inspiring examples of design saving lives were shared during Impact, with johnson banks founder Michael Johnson, Louise Kyme, brand and design manager at British Heart Foundation, and Deborah Sze beko of ThinkPublic discussing innovation in the non-profit sector.

Remember the Vinny Jones Stayin' Alive campaign? Countless lives have now been saved to the beat of the Beegees hit, with the gangster character making CPR accessible to a much wider audience than the BHF had previously been able to reach.

Design for good

"A conversation I used to have is: 'How quickly do you want me to phone you back?'" Michael Johnson discusses how far johnson banks is prepared to reduce its fees for non-profit projects

"I want to say thanks for expressing what you stand for and what you've achieved - because it's remarkable," Michael Wolff told the speakers from his front-row seat in the audience, promoting a huge applause in agreement.

Wolff's own session was a highlight of the day, with the branding expert sharing intimate insights into his way of working. "I don't have clients. I have relationships with people of mutual respect," he told the audience.

Michael Wolff

Michael Wolff steals the show by taking to the floor to reply to audience questions during his session

"I try to find myself in other people's shoes," he added, explaining how a recent branding job for a Russian bank had helped him "rethink" the way he thinks.

Computer Arts will be bringing you a full round-up of Impact conference in issue 226, on sale from 3 April. In the meantime, here are some more of our best bits…

Sunita Yeomans

You begin by being polite, but invariably hit disruption, which can prevent dialogue. You need to be brave enough to confront this, advised Sunita Yeomans

Clive Grinyer explains why the financial sector is one of the most exciting places for design today. (And that's Jony Ive - "with hair" - in his early-career days at Tangerine)

Clive Grinyer explains why the financial sector is one of the most exciting places for design today. (And that's Jony Ive - "with hair" - in his early-career days at Tangerine)

Taxi on stage

Taxi's Spencer Buck and Carlsberg's Jessica Felby on stage with Brand Union's Glenn Tutssel, during a session entitled 'Toasting success'

Michael Wolff on stage

"What is the point of you?" It's important to ask the right questions, said Michael Wolff, talking to design writer and consultant Lynda Relph-Knight

Lunch was provided at Impact, in the huge London Film Museum venue in South Bank

Lunch was provided at Impact, in the huge London Film Museum venue in South Bank

James Fairbank

James Fairbank explains how Rapha is taking the brand - and cycling - to a wider audience through creativity

Tom Savigar

"The original consumer class. They've now got 20 years left on the planet and nothing to do." The Future Laboratory's Tom Savigar on the return of luxury

Words: Julia Sagar

Julia is deputy editor of Computer Arts and editor of Computer Arts Collection.

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