Bob Sheard and FreshBritain- Brand Immersion

Once again, it’s nice to break up the bitesize product posts with something of substance.

Following on from the recent post about Bob’s involvement with Nike ACG via his Fresh Britain agency,  this post goes into detail about the importance of truly ‘getting it’.

All too often brands make large assumptions trusting in their initial instincts rather than strategically living the life of the brands they’re working for. Fresh tend not to do that. They prefer to fully immerse themselves into the brands they work for, believing that only then can they get a genuine and true handle on what makes them tick.

Here’s Fresh head boy Bob Sheard’s take on it all, using ultra marathon brand UVU as an example.

“Working with UVU we ran the North Pole marathon. Our team ran across the jungle, we pounded the desert and this then culminated in running the North Pole marathon. You don’t just turn up with your trainers for something like that. It was hard but it was all a vital part of the immersion process. It meant training for six months, running in mud, running in sand, fog and snow. It meant getting up at 2am because that is when it is coldest and running at 50km runs with sleep deprivation prepared us for the North Pole marathon. Only then could we truly get into the mind and soul of the UVU consumer.” 

“We knew from experience that there will come a time in a runners life when your physical exhaustion has to be overcome by your mental resolve and that is what inspired us to name the brand UVU – you versus you. You can’t make this stuff up. You have to live it to understand it.” 

“The authority when building a brand from scratch comes from connecting to the soul of the consumer. In all cases, FreshBritain seeks to connect with them. They know that we understand them because we become them. From scratch you have to create a process and a DNA that creates a behaviour that generates the authority for a brand to do what it needs to do. UVU has more authority in the sphere ultra-running than any other brand in the world right now.”
Ok, so you might have found your way here to look at nice coats or whatever. But to me this is properly intriguing. I’ve recently been going through the undignified rigmarole of arguing about how my ailing football club projects itself in the community it sits in. The shareholders appeared to be getting things right, only to drop a number of unpopular bombshells which have upset a lot of fans. It’s that lack of understanding of the club’s DNA which could put the shareholders’ investment at risk. Because if they damage that DNA, that uniqueness, they are diminishing one of the core positives about the club.

Anyway, I’ll stop being self indulgent. I digress. It’s not just running mad extreme marathons that Bob Sheard believes is important. He applies the same thought process to every project he works on. Here’s Bob again…

“When we worked for New Balance we ran marathons and when we worked for Nike ACG we went to live in the mountains for six months. When we worked for Karrimor Travel we sent our creative director to the Alps with £30 and told him he had to get back to the UK. On his return we asked him to tell us about his experiences and only then did we get to the core of what it meant to be immersed into a brand.” 

“FreshBritain has a commitment to finding out everything there is to know about a brand. The only way to do that is to become the brand and its consumers. In the movies, there are method actors. We try and become the method actors of our industry.”
To read more about FreshBritain and Bob Sheard’s vision, head to their website and their tumblr.


Mark Smith

I had pizza for tea.

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