Aug. 3, 2021

4. Collette Philip

4. Collette Philip

Collette Philip, the founder of Brand by Me speaks to Danny Attias about the sonder moment and her lived experience that brought her to the realisation that she needed to set up her own agency to tackle inequity and social justice through brand. 

Be sure to listen to the very end of the episode for bonus material.

You can get in contact with Collette and find our more about Brand by Me on:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandbycollette/
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/brandbycollette/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/brandbyme/
Website: https://brandbyme.co.uk/
E-Mail: hello@brandbyme.co.uk

A transcription of each episode as well as guest profiles and much more is available on our website www.sondership.com

Credits

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Transcript

Danny:

This podcast is about you, it's about your journey, it's about your awakening to your purpose and we're saying you've gone, hold on, I am a strong, intelligent black woman. Can I say that? Can I say you're a strong, intelligent black woman?

Collette:

Of course you can.

Danny:

Because people don't know what to say, so I'm just gonna, I'm just going to go straight into it if that's okay. Welcome to the Sondership podcast. I'm your host, Danny Attias. The Sondership podcast is all about hearing inspiring stories from people, with purpose and today I'm really pleased to introduce Collette Philip. Collette is the founder and lead strategist of Brand by Me, a multi award-winning brand and strategy consultancy, helping organizations tackle inequality and drive social justice through brand strategy. It was Collette's love of brand and strategy and her passion for social justice that led her to set up brand by me in 2016, to unlock the power of brand strategy to drive change. She has worked with on and for a breadth of amazing brands for over 20 years from household names such as Santander to amazing charities like womankind and Plan International to build anti-racism into their brands and tackle systemic racism head-on. Collette, welcome to the Sondership podcast.

Collette:

Thank you for having me.

Danny:

We met not that long ago, but it seems like an eternity ago we met a week before lockdown. I think we definitely met at the last ever event in the world, that had happened in person

Collette:

Hmm , Danny: and it was, it was a charity And I was the token white male on a panel about inclusion and diversity in technology and digital charities , and I remember you coming up afterwards for a conversation. It was a real pleasure to meet you and, um, I'm really pleased that we've been able to keep in contact since. Yeah, that was great.

Danny:

Collette, we start these podcasts always with the same question, which is what is your first or most memorable sonder moment. And a quick reminder that, sonder is that realization that a random passer-by has got a story as vivid and complex as your own. It's that moment when you realize that it's not just about your story, but that everybody's got a story, everybody's got something on and that you might be in the background of theirs and they might be in the background of yours. So what's your most memorable sonder moment Collette?

Collette:

Hearing the definition again? I was just reflecting on it, because I love the concept of sonder, mine is a sonder moment. I guess the concepts of it, wasn't so much everybody's stories as a specific group of people that I understood that they had shared through it. I haven't really recognized that there were other stories apart from my own, in a particular environment. So let's talk about that. I set up Brand by Me as you're intro said in 2016. And I've never run a business before and I had been an employee up until that point and actually vehemently an employee up until that point until about, a month or so before I set up Brand by Me I was very clear, I don't want to run my own business it's not something I want to do. So, the first six months of running a business, I found it freeing and it just sort of unlocked stuff. And my sonder moment was when I was looking at, and I remember being on LinkedIn and I started, seeing lots of posts about diversity in advertising and quite specifically, actually diversity in Christmas advertising or rather back in 2016, the lack of it. I remember just being on LinkedIn, looking at these posts and suddenly thinking that my story has relevant here to people that I've not met, but I know looking at this Christmas and advertising thing and thinking the same thing I do, and the reason is I should backtrack. I worked the first eight years of my career in advertising

Danny:

Okay.

Collette:

and that's where I got my love of brands, so that's brilliant. My love of brands came directly for working on ads and seeing how they connect with people, but equally as a black woman in that industry, I just struggled and not because I struggled. It was a struggle to progress in that industry because I was a black woman and we used to talk about the sort of typical Saatchi model of account handler, I was account handler, which was a tall white, dark young man. I am a short, black at that point, young yes, woman So I, there's no way that I could meet this perfect model of account handler and I, I really, I knew, I, I knew that every, every time I got feedback or every time I was held back from promotion, I knew why it was, and it was really challenging anyway, my career moved on, but that was my experience in advertising and I never, I sort of just sat with that experience as my own, as my own story, without recognizing it had been anyone else's experience, which where the sonder bit comes in, because you suddenly realize that actually this is not just my story. There were lots of other people I've never met them. That's there, there's loads of people with this story, not just in the UK, but around the world. So I come back to that moment where I looked at LinkedIn and I saw this chat about a campaign called Christmas so white and I looked at it and thought, hang on, it's not just Christmas so white it's advertising so white. I was like, and loads of people suddenly, I don't know. I just had this realization that many people must've have had, there aren't many black people at that point, but there are a number of black people, around the world, people of color in advertising.

Danny:

advertising. let's clarify that

Collette:

Yeah. And advertising exactly sorry to be clear in advertising way under indexed versus the global majority that we are in the world, the advertising industry way under indexes. So my sonder moment was I was looking at all this chat about the diversity of Christmas ads, and I thought nah it's bigger than that and I thought my story, not only there are other people that have that story and faceless people I've not met, but therefore for that reason, it's really important that I share my story. And I hadn't really thought about it before, because this is at a time where race was something, or the issues that you have because race, was something you talked about with your family, maybe your friends of color, like very closed in very small groups and if you try to talk about it at work, it would be shut down. So I guess that was my sonder moment. And I think specifically the sonder moment was this, it was, I looked at that campaign and thought, hang on, they're talking about Christmas ads so white, but it's bigger, it's advertising so white. I had this horrendous experience that I found very individual and thought it was just me and my own personal pain that I was carrying, but nah that can't just be me. I know it's not just me because if they're talking about christmas ads so white, somehow they're talking about advertising so white somehow other people looking at this and feeling exactly the same way I do remembering the time they had in the industry and that was the sonder moment. And it led me to a number of things that I'm sure we'll come on to, but that was my sonder moment in a very long-winded way. I know, but that was the sonder moment for me and I guess the most, there are others, but that was the most meaningful one because it was just this realization that an experience that I thought was super personal and I held and held on for like a decade after that of my career suddenly was like, no, this is not a personal story. This is a shared story and it's therefore an industry-wide issue. If that makes sense.

Danny:

I love it, that is great. went on a whole journey there Collette that was really insightful, seeing something and experiencing it yourself thinking, well, that's just how I feel and then you have this opening up and saying, well, hold on. I'm not the only person here has got to be feeling this way, there's got to be a lot of people and you know therein, you have a movement, then you have a challenge, then you have a task, and then you've got this massively under indexed field of advertising full of white men and these are the guys and I'm using that word deliberately these are the guys who are showing everybody, this is what the world looks like, through advertising, through that medium, these are the people who are saying, this is what products look like, this is what shops, look like, this is what brands look like and it's woefully underrepresented. When was this?

Collette:

This was in 2016? Yeah, the Christmas of 2016.

Danny:

And when were those Sainsbury's ads? Was just last year?

Collette:

Yeah last year just last year.

Danny:

Remind people what those Sainsbury's ads were about?

Collette:

The campaign was about these individual moments of Christmas, because this also happened in the middle of a pandemic,

Danny:

Hm.

Collette:

they were actual real life snapshots. So there's a conversation, a telephone conversation where somebody is talking about, we're looking forward to have you home for Christmas. There's one where people are watching, a old home movies. And there's a voiceover with the person saying, I remember and talking about a parent that they remember how they are Christmas, very emotive moments. The thing that stood Sainsbury's out, I mean, It's it's sort of a bit staggering that this causes such a big deal in 2020 as it was . It wasn't a story about kind of race or anything, it was just a story about Christmas and of the three, I think their featured stories. One was a black family, a black family talking about Christmas and I think many, many people watching it would have seen themselves going, oh yeah. we do that Christmas, big family table Dad plays this role, this mix of, very traditionally English, Christmas foods, alongside loads of other foods and this huge buffet spread and just loads of stuff and it was just so joyful and the reaction so the brilliant reaction of people, on socials were like, that Sainsbury's ad is brilliant finally seeing ourselves on screen, as opposed to ads where they tick box diversity so you will see just, you know, a rainbow of people, but they're all doing the same thing they're all dressed in the same way and that way we'll be it sort of shown through one cultural gaze, which will be kind of a white one. So this was, it was joyful because these moments of Christmas were individual to specific families and communities with zero apology for it. There was no sort of, oh, this is the foreign range afterwards or anything like that. It was just, this is Christmas and we're just going to show Christmas and it's a family and

Danny:

family having a Christmas meal and the, and the backlash, the problems were that, small vocal types that took to social media and going, I don't see myself represented in there, and this has this kind of backlash and it's just going, this is insane. People were calling to boycott Sainsbury's, this is insane this is 2020, and they're calling to boycott Sainsbury's and the other supermarket you want to boycott Sainsbury's, that's fine by us, but don't come to our store either because we stand with Sainsburys it's just a Christmas ad with a family having a meal. You've certainly got your work cut out because even in 2020, we are still just nowhere, we're just starting on the first couple of steps

Collette:

And I will be clear about this I left the ad industry in 2008, right. So I left. Spent the first eight years of my career then I left the ad industry because it just got too tough and so exhausting, and then I joined Barnardos, which is how I ended up at the charity digital conference. I wasn't speaking on behalf of Barnardos, I equally haven't worked there for several years, but that took me into the charity sector and the reason why that's kind of relevant and comes back to the sonder moment, because when I left the industry, there was trauma there. So I sort of left that behind. I disengaged from the ad industry, I was then charity sector , I had to work with ad agencies, but I really disconnected from ad industry networking or looking at ads or ad industry publications or anything, I was very disconnected. It was quite by chance that I'd seen this whole campaign, Christmas, so white. For the next kind of eight years I sort of disconnected and I still don't work in that industry you know, we'll come on and talk about what Brand by Me does, but that sonder moment also made me realize that because of my lived experience, it was time for me to reengage with the industry, not as a part of it and not as an employee, but as somebody that can start calling some of this stuff out. I guess that's what the sonder moment did for me. It helped me find my voice and it helped me understand the power of my lived experiences, and how that can sort of become my fire to really drive change.

Danny:

I love it, and your change is helping organizations tackle inequity and drive social justice.

Collette:

But specifically through brand cause I love brands and I love brand strategy and that's what I do. When I worked in advertising, the thing that we all see and it's brilliant is the way that through ads then, but also just wider, the way that brands connect with people, the way that brands can explain and provide meaning for things, that art of brand, strategy makes very intangible, big stuff, super tangible, and easy to get. And when you combine that with social justice or tackling inequity or tackling injustice, it just has this amazing power. And so I guess the advertising industry taught me the power of brand, my charity sector experience taught me the importance of leveraging that for good, but then the sonder moment helped me understand where I as an individual quite specifically can really drive change because like I have those two sort of experiences and I can bring them together, plus my own lived experience as well.

Danny:

So that's your bit, taking on inequity and social justice is like an impossible task, but doing it through brand with your lived experience, through your awareness, that's where you fit in, and this whole podcast is about exactly that it's inspiring stories from people with purpose and it's through that sonder moment that you're going, click that's me, now, how do I make a difference? Can you explain simply what is brand?

Collette:

So your brand is very simply how you capture, who you are, what you stand for and, how you do what you do in your kind of ownable way. It's how you capture how you articulate, but also how people capture and articulate that too, if that makes sense. But that's what brand is, it's who you are, what you stand for and how you do what you do in your ownable way.

Danny:

Great, and for the public to understand that and refer to you in that way and how you're...

Collette:

yeah and I guess that's the art of branding, right? So that the brand is that that core bit is about how you then, capture and articulate that and then once you've capture and articulate it, the art of branding is how you put that out there. Branding is how you capture that then in visual sound, physical presence and then the marketing bit is how you then put that out into the world in the way that people are gonna engage with you and people are gonna to get you and not everybody but the people that you need to get you, so it's not going to be everybody, but the people that you need to really get you to engage with you are going to get you more than anything else.

Danny:

That's really useful, thank you for that clarification. Collette, this sounds really exciting, you've got your purpose, you've had your sonder moments and I'm sure you've had plenty of those around your time. I'm assuming going from working in advertising and then charity, and then making your way to setting up your own business, there are going to be some difficult moments. Some struggles that needed to be overcome to be able to get you to be in this position where you can help brands deal with inequity and social justice through brand, so what are those bits of your story?

Collette:

Yeah, it it's really interesting, the struggle. Yeah, of course. There's a struggle. And it's sometimes when I speak about this stuff with clarity, particularly about how maybe racism has shown up in my career and how my lived experience as a black woman has both. As massively, like I love being a black woman. I think black women, black people are glorious. I think we are. I just, I just, I love everything about that. Um, and, and, and, but the systemic and structural racism that exists , how that presented barriers in my career. The struggle, I guess, is that, so as a kid, my parents did not tell me this, but I know that this is something from the groups that I'm in the, around both black people and wider people of colour? There's a story about, you have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to get ahead if you're black, otherwise you'll get nowhere. And obviously that is not a helpful story to tell children or adults or anybody, because it's like, why would you tell someone that's what, twice as hard, if they're already working as hard as they can, why would you tell them to do stuff that's actually going to burn them out? That was my story though, starting an advertising, but that was kind of the consistent story of my career is that I found myself being held to a different standard than other people, when I looked around at my colleagues and I look around at my peers. I seem to progress slower despite of what happens so getting amazing feedback. So when I was in advertising, I would consistently get amazing feedback from my clients about like the way that I was with them, how open I was, how I am with brands, my strategic brain, the way that I even back then the way they loved the way that I showed up in meetings. I'd get really great feedback from my clients and lots of my clients I'm still in touch with, to this day because of that, even from way back then so I'd get great feedback. And then, but from the agency, I'd be hearing. Your too, you're too honest. Sometimes it would be better if you just, didn't kind of always say what you think, oh, we're not going to send you on that opportunity because we're not sure you're ready and I'm like, okay but you've sent somebody with far less experience than me on the same opportunity and how are they ready and I'm not this sort of thing, this sort of double weird double standard. So this whole story of you have to work twice as hard to get where, that's exactly what I did. I thought, okay, I have that sort of I've always, I've got this sort of fire I'm a bit defiant, not when it comes to being when it comes to facing sort of a brick wall, I'll think fine, then I'm just going to work around it. I'll do something, I'll just work around it. And I just pushed and I just pushed myself and pushed myself. Of course, what happens when you push yourself and push yourself, you burn out. And I, I burnt out really quite severely in I guess the final job I was in the industry and then had a bit of a torrid time, but took some time out, went away. Serendipity. When I was looking at the Guardian when I was really avoiding newspapers, but I was somewhere and there was a copy of the Guardian and literally on the jobs page like a sort of halo was like this job at Barnardos called senior marketing manager and I was like, well, I'll never get that. I'm an advertising person. But then I was looking at the job description and I thought no, they don't want a marketing manager they need an advertising person that's what, and that's exactly true. It was called a marketing, but they needed someone with strong advertising experience, for whatever the brand was going to be, anyway that's an aside. Um, so I sort of overcome that. And then I found that differently, when I in the charity sector broadly, I hit different barriers and, and it showed up differently but again, I was finding this, having to work twice as hard and, and sort of having to work twice as hard and take on twice as much in this and it's not just before people say, it's not just my prioritization. It's again, because of structural barriers and, and who is seen as experts and who is seen as, who is seen as a brand person so the times, even when I set up my business, that people would say to me, you don't look like a brand strategist

Danny:

Did you find yourself modifying your behavior consciously or not consciously?

Collette:

No, the really great thing about this. So I now do workshops. One of the things I do on a personal level, as a facilitator, I do workshops around the power of personal brands specifically for people of colour because of this, because yes, you're right people can do that. The brilliant thing is my first boss in advertising. So I talked about my time and I was thinks about a time, not for the first couple of years. I was a grad. My first boss in advertising was a black woman. And as I saw her showing up at work, being, having huge amounts, she's still in the industry today. She is Sarah Jenkins and I think she works for Saatchi now and she is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, , advertising person. And she, but seeing her at work just. She'd go into meetings and have huge integrity and, you know, be there very fair with clients. Very fair with the agency, always am I just, I think it was really useful because having her as my first boss was in those two graduate years helped me see kind of models, who I wanted to be our paths, then, you know, diverged. I went on to different agencies but because I'd seen, I think, I think I never really thought about this until like years, like relatively recently, but I think because I had seen a black woman in a senior role showing up and being herself and sort of, you know, seeming to do well, at least in that agency and I thought, yes. So the one thing I didn't do, didn't compromise who I was as a result I had a torrid time. I fought people. I would end up being, uh, just have things, accusations, thrown at me. I have to cover my tracks or like when I say cover my tracks, I'd have to make sure, but I had to be perfect and who's perfect, but I had to be almost perfect in everything in these jobs because if I made a mistake, the consequences were so dire, it would set me back years. So I couldn't afford to ever make a mistake. I had to just work all the hours and do so much more work than other people just to get to the same point. But I never, I never, I didn't feel as far as I, no, I didn't people, people who know me at any point in my career, I didn't modify my behavior. No, because I knew who I am. I just fought really hard and worked really hard as a result.

Danny:

I really like that, so you, so, I mean, you were really lucky to have had this role model really, right at the beginning of your career, you could say, I can see this successful black woman in my industry. So that means I can be successful in this industry. And also showing you that you can be your authentic self, although you didn't necessarily know the consequences, but I love that that stuck with you in that fire to be yourself.

Collette:

And that's why I'm really passionate now about mentoring and I'm like I'm director of mentoring for an organization called Media for All it's helping people of color in the advertising, the media industries thrive and I'm director of mentoring, it's a volunteer organization, but I'm director of mentoring because it's so important. And that was my formative years. And I really, I, and I, and that's what I said when I say this stuff to you, this is not, this is the benefit of like that clarity. That hindsight gives you a, I can look back now in telling my story and even thinking and reflecting on my story. I can spot these things now. I didn't know that at the time. And I didn't, I never, I didn't really question why wasn't why I didn't feel that way. Why, what they call code switching so having a, you at home and a you at work or having certain way in meetings or certain way with, you know, your bosses in a certain way with your mate. I didn't, of course, you know, aside from, you know, professional behavior, but aside from that, I never really questioned why that I just didn't do that, but that's exactly what I can see so that's why I'm now really passionate about mentoring and this is why the kind of equity, diversity and inclusion conversation becomes so important because these barriers, are, unless we grasp this as, and this is why I guess a brand level it's really important as well, because of course, people look at that you can look at your organization and your staff and your processes and your HR, and it's hugely important. But unless if you are only looking at that internal stuff and you don't look at how your organization shows up in the external world and you don't look at the relationships and the processes and the advertising and that side of it. Fundamentally, you are reinforcing some of these structural inequities and you're just making it you'll make me even more difficult. And then on top of that, you've got industry, which is not diverse anyway, so they haven't even got the lived experience they need to create the brilliant, amazing work.

Danny:

Well, this is important.

Collette:

It is important. This is another thing that over years has come from that same sonder moment because it all came from that realization that God, this is my story but this is other people's stories and loads of them, and there are loads of people. And then I go, this is my story as a black woman. But then when I was speaking to people from other minoritized groups, similar story, different different stereotypes, show up different stereotypes, show up

Danny:

sure.

Collette:

the barriers might appear at different points, but that story has resonance there too and that guess was a another kind of realization.

Danny:

And you just touched on one of those really important things is diversity is about fairness clearly you should not have to work twice as hard or to be twice as good , to be successful, equality is, is crucial, but it's also that diversity of lived experience to define what your brand is, to define what your organization does, how you think, the solutions that you make, the services that you offer, whoever you are, whatever organization, and you can't have one without the other. And these are the barriers that this is , sounds terrible but it's good for business diversity is good for business because it gives you better products and better outcomes

Collette:

It is good for businesses. it's not good for them, but it's not good, but it is good for businesses, but we always ask the question who benefits from this and you go actually, at the moment, this lack of stuff and these structural inequities, they do benefit a very small group of people and it's not good for them because it really means relinquishing it and so it is good for business. And I guess it is about us making it so good for business that those benefits to the small group of people that hold power ultimately kind of fall away because it's so good for but Yeah, you said it, you said it sounds terrible and I'm always a bit like I don't, I hate that thing about the business case for diversity cause I'm like, why are you having to make this isn't about the business case? Honestly, this is about it's about inequity and it is about actually addressing centuries of injustice and even if you're not socially motivated to do that, that is the point, right. Is because our society in the same way that we recognize that if we keep on using plastic so freely, it is going to mean horrendous things for our planet. It's the same sort of thing. We got to do this because it's going to be good for us and our kids and our grandkids and whoever else this is the way it is. I guess the business case is a tool to address change and get people who aren't motivated by what I've just said, moving, because frankly, I don't care what your motivation or intention is. We just all need to move in the direction of change and that's all that comes down to.

Danny:

You've really nicely described the whole topic of sustainability and I don't mean sustainability in a climate change perspective, but just what can we do that can survive for our kids and our grandkids? That's sustainable. If we consume, and not replenish by definition, that's not sustainable, which means someone's going to have to pay and you know, we can be quite selfish as a consumeristic society. That means that we just want what's easy for us now, and what's good for us now and you know, what happens later happens to someone else is someone else's problem and this is to sea change. In fact before we were called Sondership one of the early, early names was. Something with sustainability. In fact, sustainability was the key word that I was trying to work around and the only good names I could come up with were already taken, but the core theme is this sustainability, but it's got to come from that empathy because if you don't care, then you're not going to do anything about it.

Collette:

Absolutely.

Danny:

Collette, so tell us about Brand by Me?

Collette:

The story of Brand by Me. I had been working at a global animal charity and I'd left, but I'd left, not for another job. I'd left for career break , I was looking for jobs. I couldn't see anything but I knew I couldn't stay at that organisation, and I was literally, I was going to take three months a week and a half in. I woke up in the middle of the night, it was about five am. And I was like, you know what, I need to set up my own brand consultancy and it needs to be called Brand by Me. One of the things I've always loved about brand strategy, from a practitioner point of view is that when you meet brand strategist, the way they get to the brand strategy although we have the same frameworks, building books is always different and it's entirely personal. So if I call it brand by me, cause what I'll have is this collective of strategists that we'll all be doing brand, but we'll come together in our own way and that's why it'll be Brand by Me, and we're going to do brands that kind of do good, but quite specifically for the sort of small, medium-sized brands that just need amazing big brand thinking, but can't get there, they need big brand thinking but on tiny change-maker budgets. That's what we're going to do and that's the vision. And, five years on. That's what we're doing. You heard in the intro one of our clients is Santander, so it's not just tiny change-maker budgets, but it change maker budgets and it's all about brands and last year was the route where we went brands that do good, has evolved over time, evolved into we. And it's not the, what we do hasn't changed, but the way we articulate it house, it was talking about brands that do good, but then everyone started talking about purpose and there was a lot of green washing and rainbow washing and all that and it it's just got this messy sort of purpose world, and we've got lots within it. And then it was about brands that drive social change but even with the social change aspects of it got quite well. And we'd always done one thing, which was, we worked on the really hard edges of change, really hard edges and building brands for those organizations. And it was only last year in the wake of the resurgence of the black lives matter movement and seeing the conversation about racial justice, but what it did to wider social justice. I was like, no, it's brands that drive social justice. That's what it is and so, yeah, and sure, as a brand person, it's not great to go it's taken us five years to articulate what we need we do well over that time. But I think that's what, and there's a learning in here for brands, big, small, anyone is that your purpose should evolve and your brand articulation will change because the world changes because the language and vocab, we have changes because societal shift happen and you need to move on. It didn't mean core purpose changed at all, but the articulation of it has grown up and evolve as the world has got a more nuanced understanding of what social change is..

Danny:

I can sympathize with that, in fact , episode one of this podcast had Avril Chester from Cancer Central, and she knew exactly what she was trying to do, and she set it up and she, she talks about this on episode one , but it's taken her two years to clarify it in a sentence, in a way that she can explain it to other people. It's like, you're saying, you know, the core purpose of what you're trying to do, hasn't changed, but the brand, the way you articulate it, you know, that positioning takes time to settle.

Collette:

And I will say that actually it's not so much that it took five years to come up with a positioning. No, all we've done and I would advise this brand as a brand strategist I say, you need to look at your brand every sort of 18 months to two years, you need to look at your brand because something will need to change or tweak or evolve. I think often organizations and even individuals sort of stick and sit with their brand for five or six years and then they act in massive rebrand. Whereas in fact, you should do exactly what we've been doing at brand by me is that , you just keep an eye on the world around you. And also what you're doing as you grow into your work, as you grow in what you're delivering, and you just do a little sense check every year is this still right, is this still relevant? And for us, every 18 months, two years, there's been a shift in language and, and the brilliant thing is every time there's a little shift in maybe language, it becomes even clearer who we are and we get even more brilliant pieces of work and brilliant brands and just brilliant stuff that people are coming to. So an example of the brilliant stuff is one of the things we do is around helping brands specifically look at how they can embed anti-racism into brand strategy and the role of brand strategy in helping organizations embed, anti racism cause they go hand in hand and that is such a natural, brilliant place for brand by me to be in one for me as founder, because of not just because of my lived experience, but also my interest and passion for racial justice, , because of the networks that the businesses in because of the clients that we've had now, but also the type of clients we've always had because of the brands I worked on throughout my career. It's just this really brilliant point we've got to, but I guess the point here is that the tighter you are, and if you spend time, just every so often doing a little sense check and review of your purpose and your articulation of it, and use it as a lens to kind of steer steer where you're going. You'll find that you'll find that it gets opportunities cause you're looking at it and go. And it's not like you have to spend ages like agonizing over it or rebranding you just look and you say, you know, or, or someone will say it to you, someone will say someone you'll tell them what your brand is. And then they'll say it back to you with all, no, that's better. I like what you've said, what you said, let's use that going forward. If that sort of thing and either way it just is, it's kind of, I always talk about purpose as being you're sort of your opportunity lens, but also the thing you live up to because it's both, you put your purpose out into the world so that it gives you something to strive towards and importantly live up to. So it's like if I say we're helping brands drive social justice through brand strategy and then I am doing, you know, logos and branding for just any old organizations. It's, that's a complete disconnect. I have to live up to that to our clients we have to deliver on that through our clients. We work with a network of strategists and creatives and everybody understands this is about brands that drive social justice. So for example, if I'm working with an amazing copywriter at the moment who has a background about social justice and the language around it, if I'm working with a designer, they understand the power of these brands is really important and that purpose just acts as a thread for us all to live up to and deliver but also it sets the expectations so people know what they're getting when they come to us and that's really good. And it's entirely the same also on an individual level, we've talked about personal purpose. It's same for me my personal purpose is about being a force for change and a role model for black women and wider women everywhere? That's my purpose and kind of vision that's where I want to be. If I, therefore, I'm not speaking out on racial justice, not leading with my own opportunity, if I'm not mentoring and bringing other people up. If I'm not practicing what I preach, if I'm not actively trying to deliver change, not just to the business, but in my day job, there's disconnect there and also I'd get really unhappy. So it's the same thing. It works both ways

Danny:

Yeah, that's brilliant. As an organization, you are out there tackling inequity and social justice. Have you got any examples where you've made a difference in that space?

Collette:

I'll give you a really lovely, very tangible output. I know they won't mind me sharing this because it's on my website as well. My client womankind women kind of global feminist organization doing some amazing, amazing work around the world working with women's movements around the world to really galvanize and drive change, but the organisation lacked confidence in their feminist voice and also a clear understanding of how feminism showed up in the brand. There was one thing we did in part of the brand work we developed a new personality for the organization, so their brand personality, and one of the definitions under one of the personality traits where it was outspoken and the definition was when times get tougher, we get louder because we recognize that the power of gender inequity is those things. So times get tough and that was just the word in the brand personality. The brilliant thing is they said that whenever we're going into a really challenging meeting, for whatever reason, when we're looking at we're facing insurmountable change, we repeat to ourselves when times get tougher, we get louder. Whenever we don't want to be bold about a statement where we need to really call something out. We repeat to ourselves when times get tough, we get louder and That's just a very tangible, really little it's. It's amazing because actually just that clarity, when you're clear on your brand, it helps you use it as an engine to just propel everything you do. And that's as simple as it and that's what the output is.

Danny:

That's a great example of that is them now literally living their brand, it's become their motto. Colette, that is fantastic. Thank you so much for being a guest on Sondership. How can people get in touch with you or with brand by me, if they want to?

Collette:

So , by email, hello@brandbyme.co.uk. I am on social media, @brandbycollette and LinkedIn is in/brandbycollette I'm brandbycollette on all platforms. I will say , I was talking to you, Danny, about this. I have this sort of what I call a drive by approach to social media right now, because it can be quite, just oppressive and, and weighty and I have to take time out. So if you do contact me on so via social media and you don't hear anything, please don't be offended. Then follow up on the email I gave you because , me and social media have a sort of hate/tolerate relationship at this stage.

Danny:

I can sympathize, , completely with that, I'm the same. The fact that LinkedIn is now becoming Facebook 2.0 is getting a little bit disturbing , but I've come off all other social media platforms cause it's just too much, too polarized on that note. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Collette:

thank you for having me. I think while we have loads on the moments and I think we might even have micro sonder moments, it might be one moment, but there's sort of a mosaic of moments that sort of lead you there for purpose, that's certainly my experience is a mosaic of them. One of the other ones I'll say to you is that, I'd forgotten this completely until at a conference. I was at a women's leadership conference. One of the speakers said, I want you to think back to what you wanted to be when you were nine. What did you want to be? If you had an idea of what you want to do when you were nine, did you want to be? And I was like, I don't remember . I thought, and I had this memory come back and I was like, I want it to be prime minister and I'd forgotten it completely alleged. I've forgotten it for years. This might have been a good twenty, twenty one, twenty two years later that it was at this women's leadership conference and thinking, I wanted to be prime minister. And I totally forgot it, but the reason why I wanted to be prime minister to help people because at the time we had a white female prime minister and I looked at her and thought, well, I mean, that's good, white women, black women will be better though and so I thought I'll be that black woman. And I don't know if it's a sonder moment but that memory suddenly I thought over time ever since then, as the pieces of puzzle in terms of my journey towards purpose, that I'm going to early, it comes together. They are all based around the building blocks, which exactly the same things that maybe want to be prime minister when I was nine. Exactly the same motivations and why, what do, what I do now? I mean, obviously it's completely different what I'm doing, but exactly the same core motivations are the same. So I'm wondering, I guess , the theory of sonder moments I don't think it's one, but actually it's that powerful realization that this is bigger than you. Other people have stories and actually an empathy for what some of those stories might be and where the challenges and where you might fit within their wider stories. Even if he's, you said you're a bit part within it is that's really one of the really powerful tools that can be towards purpose, I guess.

Collette Philip

Founder and Lead Strategist, Brand by Me

Collette Philip runs multi award-winning brand and strategy consultancy, Brand By Me, helping organisations tackle inequity and drive social justice through brand strategy. She has worked with, on and for a breadth of amazing brands for over 20 years - from household names to amazing charities.
It was her love of brand and strategy and her passion for social justice that led her to set up Brand by Me in 2016. With clients like Wellcome Trust, Womankind, Santander, RAF Benevolent Fund, and Plan International UK, Brand by Me unlock the power of brand strategy to drive change. Right now, Brand by Me is helping charities, corporates and changemakers build anti-racism into their brands and tackle systemic racism head on.

Collette is also a celebrated speaker and writer and has been featured on the BBC and in Huffington Post, Forbes and Third Sector magazine.