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Behind the Book That’s Battling Brand Bullshit

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The authors of a new easy-to-digest jargon-busting book explain why it will help business people cut through the mystery of brand people

Behind the Book That’s Battling Brand Bullshit

‘How To Avoid Brand Bullshit: A small book about important things’ is aptly named. Having flicked through the new book from Beehive Creative, it’s about accessible as a business text can get. The front cover - a wall of marketing buzzwords - is everything that the contents wants to tear down. Marketing people have put up a barrier of nonsense between them and the business people they work for and the people at Beehive want to expose it for the impediment to good work that it is.

The three co-authors describe themselves as: Tim Hollins – “the strategy bloke”, Martin Galton – “the creative bloke”, and Greg Jordan – “the production bloke”. LBB’s Alex Reeves asked them to explain what inspired them to put the book together.


LBB> There are plenty of books out on how to do good advertising. Why did you want to write another one?

Tim> The intro “what this book is not about” sums up its purpose. Most business books are bought with good intent, but often not read. This one is hands on; a book for thinking and doing at the same time. It's designed in a way to offer bite size helpful practical perspectives. 

Martin> Most books are long, dull and up their own arse. This book is full of easily digestible, small bite-sized nuggets of wisdom. 

Greg> There’s plenty of books out there about fishing too so why not? We were chatting about stuff and how brand managers and the like are deliberately and unnecessarily kept at arm’s length by agency management from the creatives and more so production companies. Tim thought a small demystifying book might be useful to the actual people that own or run brands. 


LBB> It strikes me as (and this is in no way an insult!) a great toilet book - something you can dip into, flip through, meditate upon. Is that close to what you were going for? How do you want people to interact with it?

Tim> It’s a book to use; see above

Martin> In any way they want. It’s pocket sized so you can keep it in your pocket. Read it anywhere, anytime.

Greg> Very much so. It’s not meant to be a weighty tome or an encyclopaedia. We could have done it as a toilet roll – tear sheet, wipe, dispose. Actually, now you mention it we will do a bog roll version.


LBB> The front cover is a block of way-too-familiar "brand bullshit" phrases from this sometimes jargon-strewn industry. What was it like coming up with that list? And what does it say about your approach to brand communications?

Tim> The title is a response to, and reflection of, the feeling that business people have in dealing with brand people like us. We’re trying to alter that. Brand and advertising stuff is not that complicated but is made so by the industry for its own ends. We wish to remove the bullshit, so we can, collectively, do a good job. 

Martin> I’m pretty sure I have heard all of those words in various meetings over the years. It’s time to out the bullshit.

Greg> Lawyers deliberately make law inaccessible to the common person, the same applies to marketing and advertising. If there’s an abbreviation to be had people use them not even really knowing what the acronym stands for but thinking it makes them sound wise and deep thinking. We say “bollocks to that”, we just say it and say it simply and clearly.


LBB> What have been the most important moments in your career that have taught you the lessons you're sharing in this book?

Tim> We could write this book because we have been practicing our art for a long time. It’s a book about coal-face learning. It exists because we all have the experience to write it. If we were in our 30’s it would have been a less clear, more let’s talk about the shiny and new, kind of book. 

Martin> It’s OK to make mistakes so long as you learn from them. This book is a lifetime of learnings.

Greg> Having always worked in the film, TV and commercial industry I’ve worked with some amazing people and some total chancers. The best directors, DOPs, designers etc. make it look easy, the worst ones make it look really difficult to the point of impossible. Someone once said to me, “see that director? he makes a difficult job look impossible”. Over the years I’ve learnt to watch, listen and learn from the people that are smart and ignore the ones that do it for show.


LBB> How does all of this feed into what you're doing at Bootleg / Beehive?

Tim> We are a factory that makes creative things; all our effort, structure, business model and fees reflect that.  Our staff are all makers not relationship managers. We work in three creative areas: creative strategy, creative ideas and creative delivery, either in combination or separately. This book is about making, it reflects what we do and who we are. 

Martin> The book explains our stance perfectly. Beehive is a bullshit-free zone. The wisdom helps us get to the answers quicker and gives us confidence to be bolder.

Greg> Between Tim, Martin and myself we’ve formed a company that’s able to cover every base from concept to completion in a way that debunks all the voodoo surrounding strategy, creative and production.


‘How to Avoid Brand Bullshit’ is available to purchase now.

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Categories: Media and Entertainment, Books

Beehive Creative, Thu, 09 Jan 2020 14:31:53 GMT