Desert Island Brands - Trevor Richards
A chance to pick five brands that you would like to find washed up on the beach if you were a castaway. What would you choose and why? Design consultancy Pemberton & Whitefoord asks Trevor Richards, managing director of rpa:group.
1. Survival essentials: Making a shelter, finding food and attempting to escape are going to be high on your agenda -- which brand will you find most useful in your attempt to tame the great outdoors?
Having spent many years as a cub and Boy Scout in the wilds of West London, I quickly discovered the benefits of a Swiss Army knife which, depending on the model purchased, could respond to all manner of survival situations, including manicuring, hairdressing and beer bottle opening. All essential tools in a desert island survival situation.
2. Last taste of civilisation: The island has a plentiful supply of nuts and fruit, not to mention a healthy population of fish, so you will have plenty to eat. But which one food brand are you really going to miss from your old life?
Having been a devout tea drinker up until the turn of this century, I happened to be converted to a complete Starbucks coffee nut during my time here as head of construction. Our business is heavily involved in the delivery of new stores throughout the UK and I'm sure that any self respecting desert island will have at least a local relevant or kiosk site to allow me to participate in my daily fix of Grande skinny extra hot wet lattes (maybe with a dash of coconut).
3. Best reminder of home: Successful survivalists always claim that it is mental attitude which sees them through. Belief that you will get back home is going to be vital -- so which brand will sum up home best?
I do have a tendency towards compulsive disorders and since the early 70s I have had an obsession about my favourite football team, Queen's Park Rangers and along with photos of my family, I have no doubt that my specially laminated photograph of Stanley Bowles (probably the most famous No. 10 ever) will have survived to remind me of the best bits of Blighty -- i.e. love, passion, beauty, flair, vision, humour, skill, teamwork and faith in the face of adversity during the cold wet winters watching the blue and white hoops.
4. Most welcome online brand: Eventually you manage to rig up your own connection to the internet using bits and pieces found on the beach but you have only one chance to log on to a website before it goes down -- which online brand will you choose?
Friends Reunited would be a great solution as I could ask everyone over to my exclusive island before hatching some elaborate escape plan (eventually).
5. Ultimate luxury: Self indulgence is hard to come by on a desert island, so what brand would you be most excited to find washed up on the beach?
A jumbo pack of Iced Gems would be lovely -- I don't know how many of you remember but these are basically coloured sugar swirls on a biscuit base which at home I never get the chance to consume as my family seem to get to them first.
It's a brand name that must go back to the 50s and just one Iced Gem a day for the duration of my stay would be the ultimate luxury.
6. Transferable skills: You already work in the jungle of marketing so there are probably skills which you have acquired through your job which will come in handy -- or you may have other hidden talents. Which of your personal skills will help you to get to grips with life on a desert island?
I may struggle with this one as I'm renowned for my delegation skills, but I've always been great at coaching and persuasion, I even taught my pet parrot to fly! So I'm sure I can get some of the wildlife to respond to my demands.
Adrian Whitefoord, co-founder of design company Pemberton and Whitefoord and desert island survival expert, comments:
The good 'ole Swiss Army Knife rears its bottle opening attachment again. This really is a Lovemark brand isn't it? It has to be the one knife that everyone probably, boy or girl, can name with no prompting. Great quality, great design, and intelligent brand husbandry -- moving into Watches for example. Trevor, I am not in the least bit surprised, and if there‘s any justice this excellent choice should help you through.
As for the Starbucks reference, it could only be somebody who has actually worked there that could understand the order. I was with you until we got to the "extra hot wet" bit! Sorry to say there are no Starbucks outlets on the island. Though I'm sure the local chief is open to talks regarding any global brands that would like to improve the quality of life for the tribe.
At the moment, the island's coffee offering amounts to a sachet of decaffeinated Nescafe that was washed ashore from a cruise ship last year. And I think the chief is saving that for a special occasion, so don't get your hopes up too much on that front.
The good news is that Coffee Arabica thrives in the high elevations and moist, mild climate of our island. Having worked for Starbucks you will probably know that the coffee tree is a shrub-like plant bearing a fruit, or cherry, which contains the bean. So, a bit of fermenting, hulling and roasting should see you with a lifetime's supply. Easy stuff for an ex Boy Scout with a Swiss Army knife.
The greatest No 10 of all time... now we are talking some serious football icon worship here. Stanley Bowles trivia -- he is among the few footballers to have a single released bearing his name, in this case the 2004 release by the The Others. He has also written betting columns in the national press and a column in Loaded and is much in demand on the after-dinner speaker circuit. I can see where you are coming from...
I suggest that we try his agent to see if we can parachute him in for a motivational evening to be shared between you and the local tribe -- they know a thing or two about football having been the sole inheritors of a crate of QPR strip that was washed overboard from a tramp steamer in September 1972. It's looking a bit ragged now of course but just mention you are a QPR fan and they will probably elevate you to the godlike position of being their team manager.
Friends Reunited is a great online brand choice. What a runaway success that brand has been. Started in 2000 it now has 21m registered members worldwide and a staggering 61% of UK adults have signed up. More importantly, it has over 1.8m paying customers.
I think if you staged a reunion on a sun-drenched desert island people would die in the stampede to join you. Usually, reunions are held in depressing function rooms above theme pubs in Croydon, so this one will definitely go down as one of the best get-togethers of all time. Big problem though, once they arrive they probably wouldn't stand any more chance of getting off the island than you would. So, choose carefully who you invite Trevor, you might be reunited with these old friends for quite some time.
Iced Gems. These quirky little biscuits are not for me I'm afraid -- like Marmite you either love "'em or you hate 'em". For some unknown reason these have been an icon of the UK biscuit industry since 1850. They started off as freakishly small biscuits (thanks to a happy manufacturing accident) and only got their iced topping in 1910. Nearly a full century later and they are still on sale, not looking much different it has to be said.
I admire the choice of "delegation" as your transferable skill. All good MDs have to be able to delegate. As the great Andrew Carnegie said: "No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit." And that piece of advice made him the richest man in the world at the time -- so delegation must be a good thing.
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