The Idea Mentor
Professor of Brand Leadership at Norwich Business School
Professor Robert Jones is a leading brand strategist. He created the world’s only Master’s course in Brand Leadership, and runs ‘The Secret Power of Brands’, a free online course which has attracted over 100,000 learners.
Prof Jones has also been at global brand consultancy Wolff Olins for almost 30 years, working with around 100 clients of all shapes and sizes. He has advised chief executives and chief marketing officers at global businesses like Aviva, Tesco and Virgin. Alongside these big businesses, Prof Jones works with smaller companies like Faber Books, start-ups like FutureLearn, and not-for-profits like Historic Royal Palaces, Oxfam and Wikipedia.
He’s also written two books:
The Big Idea shows why organisations need a purpose beyond profit, and why consumers are looking not just for value but for ‘values’ of money.
Branding: A Very Short Introduction surveys branding, emphasising its power in our cultural as well as our commercial lives. It’s part of the prestigious Oxford University Press series.
Robert is one of the world’s most experienced brand strategists (a huge and growing area within the creative industries). An inspirational teacher and writer on branding, and a believer in the power of creativity to change things for the better.
‘I’ve always been interested in design. In my first job in change management, I got interested in organisations too. So, when I joined brand consultancy Wolff Olins, which specialises in corporate identity it was my perfect job – combining the two.
I then realised that behind the design there’s an idea – the big idea that the company wants to stand for. The job is about guiding clients, through workshops, to find the biggest idea. We have to be creative of course, but we aim to get our clients to be creative too. And we want to use that creativity for good - to make brands that change things for the better.
Part of me had always wanted to teach, so I suggested the idea of a postgrad course in branding to several business schools. UEA, with its spirit of "do different", was the only one to say yes – so here I am.
What motivates me is helping people, companies or students go further, through the creativity of branding.'
Prof Jones helped to create this brand new MSC course at UEA and constantly finds creative new ways to help our students learn.
Prof Jones created the first course on the FutureLearn platform, ‘The Secret Power of Brands’, discovering just how transformative online learning can be for people.
At Wolff Olins, Prof Jones helped Wikipedia to find new energy 20 years on by creating the big idea ‘set knowledge free’.
Prof Jones has guided his students through dozens of projects with real-life clients. His favourite was creating a brand for the electric truck company Eze Truck.
Brandland is a membership organisation for people and companies working in and around branding, in and around Norwich.
Thinking Without Borders
‘Creativity thrives on difference – different minds coming together. And creativity itself is a multidisciplinary topic. Branding, for example, covers business, economics, psychology, law, media, philosophy, writing and more.
With more collaboration, we’ll research better, understand creativity better, teach better – and uncover new ideas we can’t yet imagine.’