Richard Taylor

richard taylor

It was super interviewing @Richard Brandon, Founder of @Brandon Consultants recently for our @NewLeaf tribe series.  A lifetime brand expert, having cut his teeth in other agencies, 11 years ago he decided to start his own business, running a creative design agency that specialises in refreshing established and iconic brand for business growth. They exploit the power of brand by ensuring it plays a meaningful role in people’s lives. A driven and humble leader, it was inspiring to speak with him about failures, habits and his fascination with antiques.


What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

There’s one specific book that I give to people called A Smile in the Mind by Beryl McAlhone.

It’s a visual exploration of the best creative work that makes you smile and wink and wish you’d done it. A lot of the people I speak to, I’m trying to inspire them into the world of design or talk to them about the power of design in business and the book is a nice conduit into seeing how the world of creativity can play within commerce. Out of about 500 books I’ve got on the shelf, it’s the one I go back to as a reminder to myself of why I do what I do, it emotively inspires me to do better, to push the creative product and to push students or people that I speak to a lot. It’s a nice, simple, easy read but it’s very inspirational for people to get a snapshot into the world of design.


What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? (Brand and model, where you found it?) 

It’s a purchase of experiences. I have a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old and it was the experience of taking them to Clip and Climb and helping them with their fears and exhibiting that. It’s something that I really enjoyed. It was also very interesting because the youngest was really scared the first time we went and the eldest was really confident. The next time we went, that relationship flipped because the eldest has become more fearful of heights and the youngest has got more confident so the dynamic and psyche of that was quite interesting. 

When I was younger, I played tennis at county level and I’ve not played a sport for a long time. I need to take more time out for myself so I recently played a game of padel. It’s a really good game to get people into as tennis is quite difficult, especially with the serves. 

I’m at that age when I’m more interested in investing in experiences than products and these were two new experiences that have made a mark in the last few months.


How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

Failure is inevitable. Someone described it to me the other day, ‘Business is like a rollercoaster, you’ve just got to take the highs and the lows and ride through it’. There are a lot of fails that happen in business and we are in a world where we get judged in terms of strategically or creatively pitched scenarios where somebody is making a judgement on whether to work with you based on something you’ve produced. Whether their opinion is correct or not is irrelevant and that’s difficult to compute and comprehend so I think that’s always my challenge. 

We have a process where we look at any design project or opportunity with the following criteria in mind – fun, fame or fortune. In the last 12 months, we’ve added ‘fair’. So if someone asks to use our time for anything, we now throw in the question of, ‘Is this a fair process?’ and if we go into those engagements and we don’t feel that the process is fair then we walk away. 

I think failure just teaches you to act more responsibly and more credibly to protect your own integrity. You have to live through some failures to understand how you’re going to behave in the future. 


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it —metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

“Don’t worry, be happy.”

As a nation, British people have become more and more downcast and negative through society, culture and media channels. Everything has pushed us down there and I think nothing’s ever as bad as you truly envisage, there have also got to be positives and if you can’t take the positives out of any situation then you’re really going to struggle in life and struggle with growth. There’s a culture of fear in Britan that I think is holding us back. Just smile and walk through any situation and with a positive mindset, you’ll get somewhere positive.


What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

It has to be starting our own business, Brandon in 2012 to where we are today, it has set me and my family up for life. It has been a rollercoaster, with the best of times and the worst of times but it has been the best thing that we could have done for our family. 

Initially, it was set up as a lifestyle business and as word spread it became a bigger entity. Year after year you grow and then you have to decide where you want to take it.  

The investment of time, effort and energy into the business has paid dividends. Don’t get me wrong, It’s been blood, sweat and tears to get us here but the rewards far outweigh the costs.

I never liked being an employee because I didn’t know where we were going and you can’t really make the decisions that shape it, especially in a network agency, even if you were leading that agency there’s someone above you. I love the fact that I can go home at night knowing what’s happening tomorrow and where we’re going. I wake up each day with a new challenge and that keeps me excited! The direction of travel for the business now is taking a slightly different tack to what we’ve been in the past and that excites me and gets me up in the morning. I’m a new business person at heart so I love the thrill of the chase, I love the opportunity to see what there is out there and take advantage of it for growth. 


What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I have a massive fascination with antiques and I watch the TV show, Salvage Hunters with a guy called Drew Pritchard who travels the country buying antiques. He finds and learns about new objects then he does a deal so I love the brokering of the deal, it’s all a bit pipe and slippers and a bit old school but I love learning about new objects and it’s a great way to switch off and think about something different that’s fun and interesting. I’ve always had a fascination with the function and form of any object and how it’s been designed and why it’s been designed like that. Something that’s been touched by hand and created for a functional reason or for beauty is what I find fascinating and I think that’s where my love of design comes from.


In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

I’ve become a lot less patient and more conscious of spending my time wisely and that has improved my life. I don’t waste energy as much as I used to, and I’m respectful in how I do it but I don’t say yes to everything like I used to. I have to make sure that something is worth the value of my time and as you get older, you think about time more and more so I try to make sure that nothing sucks the energy out of me. As the team has grown, I don’t need to invest my time in the minutiae of detail like I used to. I can now focus on things that will help my business grow and help to improve my family’s life. 


What one thing could you do that you aren’t doing now, that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?  What one thing in your business or professional life would bring similar results?

Exercise. I used to be fit and healthy in my twenties and thirties and in my forties I’ve really slowed down. I’m my best version of myself when I’m doing some form of exercise. There have been quite a few studies proving the correlation between successful people and exercise is huge and I think I need to spend less screen time and more time moving. Part of my focus this year is to be more healthy and I think it will help me, the business and everyone. It will most likely be padel, tennis or golf.


Have you ever engaged with self-help, mentoring or coaching? If so, how?

In my professional life, the one thing I haven’t done yet is to take any guidance or have a coach or someone that works alongside me that’s really been through it so that is the kind of thing that I’m going to look to do in the next year. In the States, for example, everyone talks to a psychologist and it’s a normal thing with no negative connotations like in the UK. There are multi-millionaires that I know of that have been successful and they’ve had coaches, consultants or guidance so I’m reaching out to a few of those to learn what they got out of that experience and then I’m looking to bring some form of advice or coaching into my world to help guide me to where I want to be.


Topic: Tribe Tuesday