The changing world of brand storytelling – an interview with Jim Hawker


I am blessed with knowing some really good people whose ideas and thinking inspire me, and I believe will inspire others.

In this new series I talk to leading thinkers and doers in marketing communications and PR on the changing world of how we tell corporate stories and brand stories.

The interviews aim to provide the latest insights from the lips of outstanding and original practitioners for the benefit of other practitioners, academics and students.

We start our series here with Jim Hawker, co-founder and Creative Director of leading London-based integrated communications agency Threepipe.


Andy: What ways do you do ‘storytelling’? How is that different to what you used to do, or how other agencies claim to do it? Read more

Did you know there are three types of problem and three different ways your creativity should respond?


I have been teaching about how to improve creative abilities and performance for over 25 years now. Yet, I am doing my best to alert people, make them aware that we need to be doing creativity differently, otherwise you could get left behind.

Creativity is a key driver for change, yet the nature of ‘doing creativity’ needs to change in order to be effective.

You need to recognise how growing complexity means traditional creative responses are increasingly inadequate to deliver ‘big multi-channel ideas’. You need strategic narratives.

Traditional PR skills in news storytelling and media relations, for example, are insufficient for outstanding results beyond 2016.

Failure to adapt could witness you being marginalised with less influence, budgets or status. However, help is at hand.

The key drivers for change are growing complexity coupled with greater convergence of communications, along with the need for greater emotional connections within communications.

Add to the mix the need to tell your story through images/moving images, plus the growth of content marketing, and recognition of public relations’ distinct skills in managing wider relationships and building social capital – all this adds up to massive, yet achievable, opportunities for creative communicators. Read more

Why PR needs a campaign against ‘Fluffy PR’.


I keep telling people that in the world of public relations there is a ‘monster’. It is holding back but could ultimately destroy PR, consigning it to become a dinosaur in the world of ye olde marketing communications.

The recent AMEC’s Measurement Month in September provided an opportunity for the agency where I work as an Associate, Smoking Gun PR, to launch a crusade against this monster.

The monster is called ‘Fluffy PR’.

Check out this brilliant two-minute animated film on the secret of how this monster can be destroyed. Read more

Are you using a blunt pencil with your storytelling?


People are only bothered about themselves.

I get so frustrated when people fail to realise this basic fact of life. Isn’t it time we woke up to this when we seek to do our marketing, PR, selling, or people management?

You can relate to this; people now have less time to listen, there’s more noise going on and even if you get through, will you make the impact you want or be remembered?

Yet take a look at your current messages; are they inspiring in any way? Do they relate or create an emotional connection with others? Even what might seem a mundane product can still engage. I really want to help you here.

Are you telling your story with the equivalent of a blunt pencil? Are you failing to miss out on the magnificence that resides in each and every one of us? Try my easy-to-do test to check the health of your brand story.

We now live in an age of content marketing: content is king, or queen. Your content ranges from thought leadership articles to feature stories and blogs, news releases, conversation items and shared conversation items.

Your story and its narrative, however, sit above all this, providing a prism through which you can tell your story – either well, or badly – the equivalent of the blunt pencil. Read more

Trump victory – when are we going to wake up to the social capital crisis in our societies?


Trump’s win is the latest consequence of our social capital crisis. Following on from the Brexit vote we have yet another example of the consequences of living in divided communities.

How many working class people do you know? Did half the people you know vote Brexit?

The US Presidential election and the UK’s referendum result revealed a disturbing reality of two tribes within modern Western societies ­– and what’s worse, they’re increasingly having less to do with each other.

It is all part of a hidden crisis within our societies – the decline of social capital – and it was a key factor in the recent election results.

This hidden social capital crisis affects the very heartbeat of how our communities work. Fewer people devote themselves to the communal good, and fewer of us are getting involved in doing things, running things or just hanging around with each other – how we help each other to help each other – reducing our capacity to connect, co-operate and collaborate. Read more

Creative design from the South

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