The Little Yellow Book is a series of short interviews with different members of the Landor team. You can find out more about who they are, what they do, and what inspires and motivates them to do what they do.
Simon Bell is the Executive Director Strategy, for Landor South-East Asia Pacific & Japan. Being a true-blue Aussie, he is deeply passionate about sports and enjoys high energy sports like tennis, rowing and surfing. Having started his career as a designer before moving to strategy, he is a veteran in the world of branding, and brings with him over 20 years of experience. He believes in the power of simplicity but does not shy away from the new and the bold. His work is characterized by path breaking insights that help brands embody the Agile Brand characteristics. Some of Simon’s work at Landor includes the iconic Australian Open and Malaysia Airlines rebrand.
What has been one of the most challenging pieces of work that you have worked on?
Generally naming projects, because everyone has opinions on a name. To illustrate that point, I was once presenting company name options to a client. The options were appreciated, but at the end, my client gave me a bunch of names his daughter had thought of. That’s a challenge! Other challenging projects I’ve worked on include; Malaysia Airlines, Australian Open, and portfolio brands within Coca-Cola. But they’re all enjoyable (now).
Which are the three brands you believe that exhibit an excellent piece of strategy?
This changes regularly.
Currently, I’m loving Lacoste’s Life is a Beautiful Sport campaign because they’ve built it off a heavy insight. Have a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJNMloOfhlw
Another brand I’m deeply admiring is RM Williams. An Australian brand that is confidently walking away from ‘clichéd’ Australia and reinventing a new modern Australian language. Check it out here: http://specialgroup.com.au/rmwilliams-details/
Finally, Aesop (another Australian brand) is a mad good. A strategy built on retail, each of their stores is like a piece of art. This has given the brand quality, premium and desire, globally. See more here: https://www.aesop.com/us
How do you inspire and educate yourself every day?
I’ve read a couple of books recently, which inspired and educated me. They are: Creativity Inc, which is about the inner workings of Pixar Animation Studios and how they inspire creativity in their business. The other is: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, about the rise and rise of Amazon and its founder.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Jon Steel (Group Planning Director, WPP) always has something interesting to say. Once, he described the role of strategy to: be useful – solve problems and suggest simple solutions. This has stuck with me.
I like to get things done. Roadblocks and administrative spirals are my kryptonite. I’m not interested in maintaining status quo, just because it has been done that way before. New and different interest me.