James Hammond, The Brand Doctor says:
I’ve never been a great fan of market research. Not because I don’t believe in it, but mainly the fact that I read so much nowadays of how research results have been skewed, flawed, biased…you name it, research appears to be guilty of it.

A great deal of research is undertaken using the self-report or questionnaire method, where participants provide information about their feelings, attitudes, beliefs and preferences by ticking the boxes of pre-determined questions. These can take the form of ‘closed’ questions (those that can be answered by a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’) aimed at providing quantitative results, or ‘open’ questions that attempt to delve deeper into the whys and wherefores of choices made by respondents –  qualitative answers. Alternatively, interviewers with a typical clipboard will ask pre-set questions and do the ‘ticking’ on therespondent’s behalf. Typical results from self-report/questionnaire ‘research’ Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor, says:

Why do some sales materials, whether digital or printed, get brilliant results while others are totally ignored? Brand Doctor James Hammond provides some helpful tips on the best way to write sales copy.

In today’s digital marketing arena, content marketing is the focus for much of the writing that takes place. Subject matter usually revolves around creating content for articles, blogs and tweets to inform and engage customers (and potential customers) as well as promoting the business brand. Most of this content is aimed at raising awareness – and hopefully interest  – in the company and its products or services.

But sooner or later, if you’re in business to make a profit, you need to make sales. That requires  writing a different kind of content – copy that is totally focused on persuading the customer to buy.

Whilst many companies outsource their copywriting to professionals, smaller businesses may not have the budget to afford these services. Instead, they rely on themselves or Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor, says:
‘Everyone lives by selling something.’ That’s a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson. But many sales people need to up their game, so in this Brand Blog, I’ll share three important points about selling in today’s marketplace.

If you’ve watched The Wolf of Wall Street, you’ll remember at the end of the movie how Leonardo DiCaprio moves along a line of salesmen and demands, ‘Sell me this pen.’ Such a direct approach to selling as this may have worked in the days of door-to-door tradesmen peddling their wares. But today, customers are more savvy, have multiple choices and probably know a lot about your product or service prior to you contacting them, thanks to the Internet. Studies show that buyers are often 60% through a buying cycle before engaging with a sales person. So how do we arrive at Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor, says:
A lexicon? Don’t worry. It’s just a fancy name for a special document – but a very important one for your brand.

Have you ever been in conversation with a company where the discussion of a single product or service feature is different – and at times almost contradictory – depending on which salesperson or customer service agent you speak to? Customer communication is a vital part of the overall customer experience. There needs to be consistency in the language employees, especially those on the front line, use to explain what the business and its goods is all about, and do it in a way that identifies the brand’s distinct verbal characteristics.
The best way to do this is through creating a brand lexicon. It sounds grand, but it’s really just a simple booklet (electronic or paper) containing the main key words, phrases and sentences that will be used consistently when Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor says:
Another logo design that won’t make any difference whatsoever.

I love animals.

And the idea of using them in any kind of research involving cruelty makes my blood boil.

So a charity that campaigns in favour of using alternative methods in research gets my vote.

But sadly, one such organisation gets a definite thumbs down for their latest stupidity.

The charity known as the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research has decided to ‘rebrand’.

It’s now calling itself Animal Free Research UK. And, surprise surprise, has a new logo to reflect the change of name. (We’ll get to that in a minute.)

Giving a reason to ‘rebrand’, a spokesperson from the charity said that research conducted with its many stakeholders revealed the previous Dr Hadwen name was ‘confusing and created a barrier between the charity Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor says:
‘Never work with animals or children’ said American actor and comedian W C Fields. But the bond between animals and humans can generate powerful emotional branding.

When it comes to building emotionally driven branding, animals can help tug at heartstrings in a powerful way.

Churchill dog brandingCartoon animals in particular, such as Churchill Insurance’s nodding dog or Purina’s black and white cat Felix can yield exceptional returns on brand investment if the message and creative work is done properly. Felix the cat branding

It’s a shame that many companies fail to use emotional connections with animals in the right way. But the worst has to be charities (not-for-profits for you readers in the USA). Having consulted for various charitable organisations over the years, it seems their understanding of how emotions – and subsequent feelings – are aroused is pretty weak at the best of times. Whether it’s homelessness, hunger, animal cruelty, persecution and abuse, the focus always emphasises the negative aspects of the cause they are raising funds to help eliminate. Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor says:
Brand nonsense doesn’t get better than this.

If I was given a penny for every time some twit has told me their company has had a ‘rebrand’, I’d be rich.

When pressed as to exactly what a rebrand means, no-one has been able to give me a proper answer.

That’s because there isn’t one.

Not only is the whole concept of a rebrand absolute hogwash*, the people that prey on the gullible, half-baked managers who buy into the concept don’t even understand what a brand is themselves.

What, in fact, clueless brand executives waste their money on under the guise of a ‘rebrand’ is usually a new logo, together with some huge corporate identity tome that gives you rules on how the logo should be used, plus a bucket of tripe about the new ‘positioning’ of the company. Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor says:
If you don’t know what a brand is, you can always design another logo.

The old Commission 'brand'..I am a great supporter of the Charity Commission here in the UK.  But some fruitloop in the organisation recently determined that the ‘old logo and brand’ that you see here didn’t reflect the ‘new’ approach of the Commission, whatever that happens to be.

Given that no-one at the Charity Commission, it seems, even understands the difference between a brand and a logo, I’m not surprised that choosing a new design was achieved by, of all things, holding an internal competition for ideas. Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor, says:
This is an article I wrote recently, highlighting the woeful state of sales and marketing today.

My article on outdated marketingSuccessful marketing is crucial for any business wanting to survive and thrive. But it’s tough out there. Fierce competition, globalisation and commoditisation are just three of the issues any company faces no matter how large or small it might be.

So you’d expect marketing to be leading the way in strategies and processes that address the business challenges of the 21st century head on, wouldn’t you?

Well, you’d be wrong. Marketing’s return on investment continues to fall, with studies in 2014 showing 75% of marketing strategies under-performing. Eight out of ten new products or services being launched fail to make it past six months. Advertising is losing its pulling power. More direct mail is going straight in the waste-paper basket than ever before. Companies are making severe cuts in their non-performing salesforces. Continue Reading…


James Hammond, The Brand Doctor, says:

Watch my interview with PR expert Farzana Baduel to learn more about helping your brand to grow by using PR.

In 2004, Al and Laura Ries wrote a book called The Fall Of Advertising & The Rise Of PR. PR helps build a strong brandIn it, they stated that the major brands around today were born using public relations – PR – not advertising. The book cites an astonishing number of branding examples, including Starbucks, the Body Shop, Wal-Mart (owners of ASDA here in the UK), Red Bull and Zara as having been built with virtually no advertising.

In truth, they had it wrong about advertising losing ground. But they got it absolutely right about PR. And even more so in today’s business landscape. Continue Reading…


Brand Doctor: A brief bio.

I’ve spent nearly 40 years in advertising, marketing, design and branding. Starting life as a graphic designer and copywriter, I worked for Top-100 companies. I then progressed to heading up brand consultancies responsible for sales and marketing, branding, corporate identity and advertising for Yellow Pages, Virgin, AVIVA, EMI and British Telecom to name a few.

Throughout the years, I’ve also helped smaller businesses dramatically improve profits through building a powerful brand. (Not-for-profit organisations have seen their donor income increase using my brand approach too.)

I’m also a qualified psychotherapist. How people think and behave is crucial to knowing how to brand a business, and with 15 years of experience in the field of psychology, I'm better equipped than most to deliver brands that connect and engage with customers.

Psychology is a rare ingredient in marketing, but it should really lead the way. My psychotherapy work greatly influences the approach to branding I teach and formed the basis for my international best-selling book Branding Your Business.

‘James gave two consecutive keynotes for the past three years at our annual Indonesian Superbrands Conference. He is a breath of fresh air, bringing clarity and understanding to an audience of 400 senior marketing executives hungry for knowledge of ways to create leading-edge business and branding strategies.

James also gave two brilliant keynotes on the subject of sustainability, in advance of his new book The Starfish Business. He is now a Member of the Board of Advisors, Most Valued Business Indonesia, an exciting new initiative to recognise brands not just for their revenue, but for their social responsibility.

Whenever James comes to Indonesia, his fans eagerly await the latest from the Brand Doctor – and they are never disappointed. Thanks James – and good luck in all you do.’

– Alistair Speirs OBE
Chairman, Superbrands Indonesia
and Most Valued Brands

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