J44 Brand Consulting

J44. Specialists in the sideways-look

J44 has developed ways of looking at brands that will help you be ready for the unexpected.

Such a sideways-look is vital in times of rapid change and disruptive challenge, of course. But it’s equally important when things seem to be going well. Because that’s when the surprises get you.

We are strategists and consultants – outsiders – and our view of your brand, its meanings and messages, will be quite different to yours. Our investigations will produce a report that contains unexpected insights. There may be radical recommendations and unorthodox ideas.

You may not implement them all. You may use our report as the foundation for further research, or for more work by your internal teams.

But one thing is sure. You will have looked at your brand from an unusual direction – one that you wouldn’t normally have considered.

And, given that threats and challenges also come from unusual directions these days, you will have helped to protect your brand in a world that’s tougher and more testing, less predictable and more surprising than it has ever been. More about the sideways-look process.

What happens after the sideways-look

New strategies need new executions and, of course, we can help here too. New products, packs, campaigns and communications – online and off – are all part of the service and, as you can see from the work we’ve done on some of the world’s greatest brands, can be delivered to the highest of standards.
Alternatively, if you’ve already defined your strategy and just want help with the activities that result, we’re happy to help in this way, too.

Brian Sharp

Brian Sharp

Creative and analytical manager with a global blue chip FMCG sales and marketing track record.

Brian Sharp is both a marketeer and a business manager. He combines global big brand experience and communications creativity with commercial insight – a blend that builds sales and profits via memorable communications.

Career outline

Set up and managed leading spirits company Wm Grant & Sons Australian business, recruiting local teams to launch new brands such as Hendricks Gin , Monkey Shoulder Whisky and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, resulting in volume value and market share growth while beating all financial and profitability targets over a 5 year period. At the same time managed the Japan, New Zealand and Pacific Islands markets, similarly growing these businesses.

Managed the Scottish Divisional business of top 5 global brewer Scottish & Newcastle, initially focussed on re-engineering the business model then successfully launching Fosters Lager and John Smiths Bitter into the Scottish market. Delivered significant volume and value share growth over a 5 year period.

Various senior marketing roles, including Brands Marketing Director at Scottish & Newcastle Breweries. Helped introduce Becks Bier to the UK, rejuvenated Newcastle Brown Ale, created ground-breaking TV advertising for McEwan’s Lager and supported the dramatic growth of S&N plc from UK number 5 to World number 5.

Marketing Director at Haagen Dazs luxury ice cream during the crucial start-up phase of the European business. Chaired the HD Europe marketing committee. Oversaw the marketing programmes around the build-out of the Europe production facility at Arras and led Europe-wide NPD projects including the launch of the sorbet range, while managing to get the French hot under the collar about some memorably steamy advertising.

Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy

Communications Entrepreneur of the Year. Multi award-winning Creative Director.

Kevin Murphy and his businesses have shelves of industry accolades, including Design Agency of the Year, Client Agency of the Year and the Institute of Marketing Gold Award for Strategy. They have won many gold, silver and bronze creative awards from bodies such as The Creative Circle, The Roses, The New York Festival, The International Summit Awards and Cannes Lions. Kevin himself won Communications Entrepreneur of the Year.

Career outline

Set up The Foundry in Manchester. Combined Managing Director and Creative Director roles, responsible for both the growth and creative output of the business.

The Foundry blends strategic thinking and award-winning concepts for clients such as Heineken, Scholl Footwear, Molnlycke Healthcare, Kumho Tyres, Dechra Veterinary Products, Mersey Rail and Morphy Richards.

Set up Protocol, one of Britain’s earliest multi-media design and communications agencies. Among the first to build websites and asset databases, helping clients to exploit new channels. Clients included United Distillers, Scottish Courage, Haagen Dazs, Prudential Assurance, Capital Bank and James Halstead Flooring. Protocol was voted Design and Client Agency of the Year.

Steve Yelland

Steve Yelland

Writer, Creative Director and brand strategist.

Steve Yelland’s work has built share and sold product for VW, Dewar’s Whisky, Gordon’s Gin, Foster’s Lager, Scholl, Crown Paints, Fujitsu Services, Molnlycke Healthcare, Royal Mail, Survitec and Haagen Dazs Ice Cream, among many others. His writing has appeared in the D&AD Annual three times and his ads, websites and long-form work have won awards in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Career outline

Writer and consultant brand and communications strategist, working with blue chip and start-up businesses.

Creative Director Inside-Out Branding. Internal communications specialist, creating and staging conferences and roadshows all over the world.

Creative Director, Protocol. Working with Kevin Murphy on some of the earliest (and multi-award-winning) corporate websites plus advertising and design for international brands.

Creative Director, Graham Poulter Partnership. Large independent provincial agency, with clients such as Porsche Cars, VW, Sharp Electronics and McCain Fries.

Ghost-writer of a best-selling psychology book series. Business writer, creating content for corporate strategy publications.

Nicola Pickup

Nicola Pickup

International business leader and marketing strategist.

Nicola Pickup has delivered results on two continents by building an inspiring and inclusive environment in which passionate teams execute strategies that spring from a clear consumer vision.

Career outline

Founder of strategic consultancy Conka, helping businesses across Australia define, refine and execute marketing strategies.

General Manager SQD Athletica. Defined a clear proposition for this men’s athleisure clothing startup and established a high-performing team who designed, sourced and produced 72 product styles in ten months, launched three stores, established a digital presence, implemented ERP, CRM and ecommerce systems and established a network of brand ambassadors in SE Queensland.

Head of Brand, Triumph International, Australia and New Zealand. Positioned Triumph, Tri-Action and Sloggi as visionary leadership brands in women’s lingerie. Worked with the global brand team to develop brand, product, marketing and retail initiatives. Leading transformational change for the brand across the local business through adopting and embedding a consumer led approach to enable increased sales and better consumer engagement.

Head of Marketing, Village Roadshow Theme Parks, Australia. Improved ticket sales, hotel occupancy and repeat visits through a consumer driven approach and optimisation of media spend across the portfolio of parks such as Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World Resort & Park, Wet n Wild Gold Coast and Sydney.

Senior International Brand Marketing Manager, Mamas & Papas UK. Defined and executed international marketing strategies to improve global awareness, brand consistency, footfall and sales for 65 UK stores, 250 UK independent retailers and 70 US retailers.