Thursday, 12 January 2017

D&AD President's Lecture - Simon Mottram

Yesterday evening I went to the D&AD presidents lecture to hear Simon Mottram, founder of the Rapha cycling brand at the Conway Hall in London.

Simon was introduced by D&AD President Bruce Duckworth. Using a mixture of films and images Simon charted the history of the Rapha brand from the early beginnings on his kitchen table, where the brand was placed at the centre of the business, which is quite firmly where it remains today.
Simon is an excellent speaker, clearly as passionate about cycling as the business he founded. His insights into creating a brand, being the brand owner and how he has managed to create a business which has the ethos of the brand in everything they do is a remarkable story. As he said:
"The brand drives everything. Phrases like ‘moments of truth’, ‘alignment’ and ‘engagement’ become more than buzzwords. They become reality".

He is modest enough to say that as much as it has been down to hard work and determination that there was also a fair element of luck and good timing.
He gave us 13 clues about how Rapha works. Looking at this list now, it looks a bit "dry" but when Simon was going through each point they jumped out at you. 
In my capacity as a small supplier to Rapha, I totally get it. The people I have dealt with over the years are totally engaged with the business, which is testament to Simon's point that "If your brand is going to be authentic at every point then it’s vital that you build the brand from the inside out"
There are many businesses that I work with (including design agencies) that have an excellent outward customer facing brand and image ...BUT if you are talking to that business as a supplier, you get treated very differently.

Interestingly, I checked back in my files and I first sent paper samples to Rapha on 12th May 2005 (to Ben Aquilina), which was in the very early days as Rapha only started in 2004! Since then we have supplied Rapha for a number of projects, here are just three for interest:

 At a guess, I would think there were probably 300-400 people in the audience. Attending events like this is very important for all of us in the creative industry - it helps to share other people's perspectives and share what else is going on. At £15 per ticket, it's good value too....

I left feeling inspired and invigorated!

You can see the presidents lectures here:

Make it a belated new year resolution ...GO to more industry talks!
Posted by Justin Hobson 12.01.2017

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