• I briefed the creative team on the bakery ad I mentioned last week. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what they produce.

  • I finished work (for now, at least) on the Chinese ingredients brand I’ve been working with on-and-off for the past few weeks. New positioning, range architecture and retail approach: done.

  • I also worked over Christmas on a pitch for the brand strategy for a new alcohol brand launching across Europe later this year. I’m super excited about it: it’s a dream brief in many ways, an entirely new product that’s creating a new category, with the backing of a pretty big business behind it. I briefed the creative team on it this week, with three pretty interesting and pretty different directions to go in, so we’ll see where things go from here.

  • I started working on a small project for a Finnish coffee brand. Years ago, at big fish, I worked on a project for the iconic Finnish chocolate brand Karl Fazer that sadly never saw the light of day. It was creatively directed by the wonderful Will Awdry and designed by the peerless Vicky Sawdon, and working on this new project has reminded me of it, made me sad that it never made it into the public domain, and made me wistfully remember a fun trip to Helsinki, in which lots of Lonkero was consumed:

    But it’s also made me glad that I spent so much time back then swotting up on Finnish culture and consumer behaviour. You never know when it will come in handy to know your kippis from your kiitos, or indeed your perse from your kyynärnivel.

  • I’m running an off-site for a company later in January, and I’ve begun the process of stakeholder interviews with people across the business; they’ve been dripping into my diary here and there over the past couple of weeks. It’s always fascinating to see how different parts of the business see the bigger picture, where you need to do some work to get people aligned.

    The ability of individuals to see the same situation very differently is amazing. It’s easy to see how that leads to a bad place. Misaligned people, pulling in different directions, will get less work done (and probably resent each other while they’re at it). But it’s useful, too. Half of solving problems is framing the problem in the right way, and individuals all have their own framings. The trick is to find a way to get people comfortable with perspectives other than their own, and to present those perspectives in a constructive – rather than destructive – way.