The Reading List


Jenni Romaniuk has been promoting her new book ‘Building Distinctive Brand Assets’ and recently appeared on @TheWriter's podcast along with Rachel Eyre, Head of Marketing at Sainsbury’s.

If you’re not already familiar with Romaniuk’s work, she is a research professor at the Ehrenberg-Bass institute and co-authored How Brands Grow Part 2 with Byron Sharp. 

The book will cover a wide range of strategies, tactics and insights including how language can be distinctive and unusual words can work better in your tagline.

Romanuik elaborates, “an unusual word…a rare word, helps a tagline be a more distinctive asset. It helps the uniqueness of a tagline because they’re unusual. They get processed more distinctly in our brain and are more easily attached to something. When you have a word (like Allstate’s Mayhem) which is an unusual word it’s much easier for someone to associate specifically with a brand in their brain, rather than generically with the category.”

The book also defines the 4 commandments of brand identity which Romaniuk says include:

  • Choose well
  • Prioritise
  • Execution Matters (a lot) 
  • Resist Change

On the last commandment, Romaniuk and Eyre both agreed that marketers often avoid one of the most important things for strengthening a brand; consistency.

Eyre noted that, “as marketers we change jobs very frequently and it can be very tempting to come in somewhere new and want to shake things up.”

Romaniuk concludes that one of the key benefits of a distinctive asset is getting the most out of things such as your advertising.

“Distinctive assets help you get the most out of all of the other media things you do because consumers work less hard at identifying the brand. It becomes that automatic trigger that makes that the branding process easier.” 

The book is due out in July and you can listen to the full interview below.

Coupling Up with a New Client


We recently helped to launch Couplet, a new online program that provides couples with creative and practical tools to help strengthen their relationship. 

Based on 25-years of working with couples in a therapeutic setting, Couplet has been carefully developed to help couples to become reintroduced to one another. It leverages the popularity of the fast-growing self-development category, but shifts it towards a new ‘relationship-development’ segment.

Our approach to the branding and messaging strategy was to create a distinctive brand that would inspire couples to nurture their relationships and feel empowered by the experience. 

The program also required a digital presence that is intuitive and easily accessed, so that participants can work it in around their busy lives. 

The launch will be supported by marketing activity over the coming months.

Even More Awesome Stuff (You Never Knew)

What do zombies, velociraptors and Right2Drive all have in common?  They each have an astonishing but true fact including what Right2Drive provides not at-fault drivers with, after an accident. 

Our latest spot for Right2Drive in the Awesome Stuff You Never Knew campaign, was created with animation studio MotionLab and is now playing on Facebook. You can view it below or on their Facebook page.

The Library: Deep Work by Cal Newport


Reviewed by Matt

What’s life like in your current workplace? 

If you’re behind a desk, in a busy open-plan office, do you ever find it difficult to focus on the work at hand?

If you spend most of the day working on a computer, how would rate your ability to stay productive for longer spans of time?

In Cal Newport’s latest book, Deep Work, he identifies this as a major challenge for today’s knowledge workers.

Whilst computers have greatly empowered our productive capabilities, there’s also a darkside. Those day-to-day tasks that we think are signs of productive work, such as email, often actually work against us. 

Newport notes that we, “increasingly replace deep work with the shallow alternative - constantly sending and receiving e-mail messages like human network routers, with frequent breaks for quick hits of distraction.”

These problems make it harder to perform deep work and should leave us questioning whether or not we can become better at working with intelligent machines.

As machines become more complex, Newport believes that those who can do this will thrive. But to thrive you must first understand how to get the most out of your day:   

“To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction. Put another way, the type of work that optimizes your performance is deep work.”

In Deep Work, Newport provides a comprehensive guide to some of the best methods for achieving a consistent mode of deep work. 

This includes some often-overlooked basics, such as scheduling every minute of your day -  something that those in a creative industry can struggle with a little more. But, as creatives that are required to perform every day might realise:

“[Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants.”

Our environment also plays a major role in our ability to focus. Newport shows that the open plan office has been working against us since its inception and wide adoption in workplaces across the world.

For many of us, that’s a change that is out of our control but there are some things that we can take responsibility for. 

Newport believes that not using the internet for entertainment is one. Keeping business and pleasure separate in the work environment will ensure that there are less urges for distraction throughout the day. 

Another is ensuring that you give yourself adequate downtime each day. This will help to aid insights as well enable you to recharge enough so that you can reach the necessary levels of deep work. 

When you’ve finished work for the day, it actually pays to switch off. 

Overall, Deep Work is filled with some fantastic insights that will provide you with some practical ways to increase your productivity. 

Just be warned though that, whilst they may be practical, they won’t necessarily be easy.


Every day, in advertising agencies across the world, a creative will sit down at their desk and look over a brief. On that brief there will be a range of areas covered off including objectives, audience, budget, considerations and (most importantly) the USP.

It’s a shame because largely the power of a USP is just a myth.

The Library: Messy by Tim Harford

We’ve just finished reading the latest book from Undercover Economist author, Tim Harford.

Messy takes a look at how people and businesses can become more creative and resilient in a tidy-minded world.

The book is an enlightening read that provides some wonderful insights on the surprising benefits of disorganisation, collaboration and improvisation.

Here are a few key takeouts for the marketing and advertising industries.

Awesome Stuff You Never Knew


Right2Drive were built entirely upon an awesome fact that most Australian’s aren’t even aware of; if you’re involved in a not at-fault accident, you’re entitled to a no cost rental car.

This insight is the basis for our latest campaign for the brand; Awesome Stuff You Never Knew.

The campaign, which includes radio, social and OOH activity, will be spreading this and other awesome facts across NSW, QLD and WA. Listen to the spots below.

The Library: Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky

Reviewed by Alex.

Although a few years old (and the social channels mentioned have since evolved into bigger beasts) this book has stayed relevant in 2017. The core of it is an exploration of the ways that we can pool our ‘cognitive surplus’ that previously had no outlet into new projects, now that we have the internet and social tools as our weapons.

There are some great examples throughout the book (once you get over the guilty feeling of other people doing civic projects that change the world whilst you spent last night watching a marathon of Stranger Things) but you can’t help but think that these are the extraordinary examples rather than the norm. Most of us read Wikipedia, not add to it.

For a few people this inspiration may kick-start them to finally put their pet project up on kick-starter, but for the less motivated it still serves as a resource for behavioural case studies that challenge the rational thinking of how people will act – particularly in our new social world. One area that Shirky does delve deeply in is the motivations behind why people may take the time to do something (often for free).  Personal achievement or community membership can be stronger than monetary rewards. You can even lose the love for doing something once you do it for money.

From a marketing and advertising point of view, it’s harder to see where brands fit in and whether they’re welcome in these social projects. One clear warning throughout the book is that ‘Theory Induced Blindness’ may make us think that social works in a certain way, but as everyone is becoming more and more comfortable with this form of communication they’re going to start using it in ways that we’ve never thought of. If we ask a follower to act in a certain way, the opportunity gives them a choice to do the opposite – and this can cause it to back-fire for brands. There’s potential for something exciting but proceed with caution.