My fascination with 'how' the world works as opposed to 'what' it is has intrigued me over the many years of my business career. 

I seem to have developed an art form in being a professional irritant and observing change. Advising governments, companies and communities in defining their point of difference and delivering brand strategy. Unashamedly commercial, the bottom line performance of whatever it is has always stayed with me since my early days in accountancy and manufacturing. From humble origins, through universities and business schools in New Zealand and France I have become convinced in my later years of the curious nature of human beings and their insatiable interest in stories.

Business for me is about three things: Ethics, Aesthetics and Functionality.

Brands which capture these points of difference, should deliver a special experience through unique design, supportive cultures and an infectious and honest story you have never heard before.

I find myself these days doing emotional audits on everything from nationhood to dysfunctional airports and I am slowly convincing myself as I age to the thought that the world is becoming unnecessarily complex and selfish. Pick up any newspaper or magazine, switch on the TV, and you'll be bombarded with suggestions of how to have a successful life. Some of these suggestions are deeply unhelpful, stereo typifying an unreal world of perfection.

We are all different and we respond to things in different ways. Understanding life in a simple way for each of us at whatever pace we chose is our most important purpose going forward. Being able to enjoy a life and personal identity wherever we are and whatever we are doing is perhaps the most fulfilling feelings we can have as individuals. This thinking may seem at a tangent to where brands currently are, and you would be right. Those that register them will not own tomorrow’s brands entirely anymore. Rather, their ownership lies in cyberspace in the minds and hearts of those that use them. It's the users who will create content and shape the brands to their liking.

The moral dilemmas of effusive branding will lie increasingly in a heap as the demand for information becomes more authentic and transparent. Those who avoid the ethical aspects will be discovered and their investments lost. It's nonsense to think we are entering the age of the individual and that community and family is being put aside. We can now find the likes of ourselves on this planet in a single click. Add the letters QUE and all of a sudden a click becomes a “Clique”.

We enter and leave this world with tears, but for me it's the happy story of us and others in between that means so much.

About Richards Partners

Brian R Richards founded the company bearing his name some 20 years ago. Building New Zealand's first full-service consultancy specialising in brand strategy and design. Over the years he and a growing capable team have contributed to transforming company and community brands in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Europe. Their unique methodologies have been recognised by universities and marketing circles internationally.

Now known as Richards Partners, the firm’s enviable reputation has enjoyed industry peer group awards in both business and design categories. Their continuing commitment to left and right brain thinking in a single offering has developed an exemplary record in the bottom line performance of brands.

In 2014, Richards Partners introduced a unique and practical innovation method. Known as the Chrysalis process, the method adapts design-led thinking techniques in the areas of service, product and social reform design.