Can you ever remember a time when branding didn’t exist? Well, one man can. John Murphy believes he’s the brandfather; the brains behind the concept of branding.
In his book, Brandfather: the Man Who Invented Branding, Murphy pens the story of his successful career and how he identified the process of ‘branding’ – a word first coined and used by his company, Interbrand in the 80s.
“In business, you can head off in whatever direction your fancy takes you and the only thing holding you back is the reality of the marketplace,” he says. Murphy founded his company, Interbrand, in 1974, initially as a name-creation business. Most projects were international in scope, and early jobs included the creation of household names such as Mondeo, Hob-Nobs, Homebase, Viagra and Punto.
In 1979, Interbrand opened in New York, in 1982 Paris and Frankfurt, and in 1983, Tokyo. Increasingly, Murphy came to realise they were not mere wordsmiths, but creators of ‘brands’ – a scarcely known concept in the early to mid-80s.
Sensing a sea-change, Interbrand added market research, brand strategy consultancy, packaging and corporate identity design to its services and in 1988 it developed brand valuation and hit the big time. It still remains the world’s biggest brand agency.
John sold Interbrand in 1994 and became a brand owner in 1996 when he set up St Peter’s Brewery, an internationally recognised beer brand based in Suffolk, followed by Ruffians, a male grooming business in 2010. Both of which he is still the owner and chairman.
With years of business experience working with some of the world’s best-known brands, in Brandfather John uses stories, examples and anecdotes to illustrate his unusual business journey up until retirement in 1996, taking us through his fascinating career. In a business life that he describes as ‘mischief without malice’ Brandfather is a tell-all tale of business and brands from a man who doesn’t suffer from shyness or self-deprecation. It’s both a memoir, a business journal and an amusing and insightful ‘how to’ for entrepreneurs everywhere.