Alas dear Wally. I suddenly feel that the real pioneer of branding, as we know it today has sadly gone.
Before Wally there was Design, classified by the work of the likes of Fletcher, Forbes and Gill and Corporate Identity, the management consultant-led change programme that was as much about economics as corporate logic. Wally Olins was the man to knit the two together, citing the ‘Corporate Personality’ as the all powerful grail for the enlightened CEO.
Personality, was (and still is) the big thing.
Wally perceived it as integral as DNA, it walks and talks, it lives in a technicolour world . . . and most importantly, he knew that people understood a positive personality was more powerful than a logo and a new set of values will ever suggest.
Back in the 80s there was only Wolff Olins as the serious Corporate exponents. We met many times and whilst Smith & Milton ruled the Packaging roost, Wally remained fascinated by our little piece of real estate. It never got further than some cagey chats, but I will always feel proud that I crossed paths (albeit with swords sheathed) with a great visionary, and though he did not know it, mentor.
Wally we will carry on spreading the word.