When was the last time your brand made someone smile?

Welcome to our branding, business, and leadership blog, featuring insights, tips and opinions from our team.

Digital natives will no longer be merely a marketing channel, but the very fabric of society.

What comes to mind when you think of Semrush? SEO? digital marketing? Whatever you’re thinking, it’s so much more.

We speak to fellow brand aficionados Emily Soccorsy and Justin Foster, co-founders of US brand agency Root + River.

With an ever-increasing and exciting rate of change ahead of us, Kate gives us a teaser of both what marketing and marketers will look like in the future.

In a rare case of brander speaking to brander, Darren and Bill explore the changing world of strategy-led brand through and post-COVID.

It started with a problem in need of a solution Few Australian tech start-ups have had the success that staff scheduling app, Deputy, has enjoyed. Like many successful companies, its origin story revolves around a problem without a good solution, so the founders created one. In Deputy’s case, Steve Shelley

Lisi Schappi, Director of Design at Deputy, joins the podcast today to tell us the unique story of Deputy’s refresh as they enter the US Market.

What springs to mind when you hear the brand name ‘BlackBerry’? If it was a mobile phone, you’re not alone.

From bars to cars If you worked for an organisation in the first decade of this century and went out with your mates after work for happy hour, you no doubt recall the scene of everyone typing away on their BlackBerry the way teenagers now text on their iPhones. BlackBerry

Introduction: the brand despots among us This 4-part series will explore what I call the ‘abuse of brand power’ and how it led to the decline and near fall of the United States. We will talk about the methods despotic personalities employ to corrupt brand, and how you can avoid

Translation: Gen Z speak for ignoring traditional marketers The real digital natives You’ve all doubtless heard of Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials, but you may not be as familiar with Gen Z. I wasn’t. Gen Z is the generation born roughly from 1996 to 2010. The defining feature of this

Gen Z is the largest generation, making up 30% of our current global population. As the future buyers and decision-makers, they hold immense power over brands.

Brands fulfill more than needs I recently talked with Mario Herger, author of the book The Last Driver’s License Holder Has Already Been Born, which claims future generations will not need, or even want to own cars. Mario is an innovation researcher and consultant based in Silicon Valley. His former

The global automotive industry is currently being disrupted on a level not seen since the introduction of the internal combustion engine replaced the horse and cart. Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electrified cars are changing the face of the automotive industry to the extent that in 10 years’ time many of

New initiatives support local business  I’m an eternal optimist and also like to be provocative. These two characteristics combine in my belief that good things for the business sector can come out of the present crisis for the business sector. Or really two crises, as we here in Victoria had

Rebranding Branding Podcast #17

COVID has changed the arts industry forever. Live music performances delivered online haven’t really taken off – until recently. The acceptance of digital delivery of almost everything has upended entrenched audience behaviours and artist’s business models. In this episode, we hear from the cellist of the acclaimed Flinders Quartet, Zoe Knighton,

Rebranding Branding Podcast #16

Like all things, launching a start-up is all about timing. COVID has made it hard for many salaried employees to make ends meet. We speak to Tom Jamieson, Co-Founder of Zay Zoon Australia, a fintech start up, and learn about the upside of launching their wages on demand product for employees

Rebranding Branding Podcast #15

The food, hospitality and hotels industry has indeed been one of the hardest hit with COVID-19 restrictions. Hear from this esteemed global food advisor, Francis Loughran from Future Food, how this market has been affected and possibly even changed – both positively and negatively – forever. He offers some helpful practical

Rebranding Branding Podcast #14

he superannuation and SMSF industry has been greatly impacted by regulatory changes brought about by COVID-19. Hear from SMSF industry expert and CEO of Australia’s leading advisory business to accountants, Aaron Dunn, as he describes how his industry was impacted and how he is preparing his business, Smarter SMSF, for the

Rebranding Branding Podcast #13

Planning the road out of COVID is challenging for all brands at the moment. Knowing when we will come out the ‘other side’ is certainly a million dollar question as is what the new normal will look like. Hear from seasoned brand marketer, Maddison Rawson-Webb, Head of Marketing of leading

Rebranding Branding Podcast #12

Many brands are currently neck-deep in strategy review and reset discussions. Our guest, leading global data guru, Benjamin Balk, talks about how data can be used to answer some of the important business strategy questions currently being posed and how COVID represents an opportunity to re-prioritise data as a strategic

Rebranding Branding Podcast #11

COVID has been an ideal ‘break in the traffic’ to reflect on your brand and to refine for a post-COVID world. In this ‘solo soapbox’, Darren Taylor talks about his own agency, Taylor & Grace’s rebrand journey during COVID and invites others to share their journey for future episodes.

Rebranding Branding Podcast #10

Tapping into the emotionality of your brand can turbocharge its performance. Hear from this inspiring NFP leader, Mandy Mandie from Koala Kids to find out how.

sticky notes

The Xfactor Collective brand specialist Darren Taylor answers the question that every organisation is now wondering – how to stay relevant and connected in with the communities they serve.

Rebranding Branding Podcast #09

The world has stopped. It’s a rare moment, albeit a perfect one to re-focus on your core values as a human but also your organic online presence. Chatting to Ian Hopkinson, Founder of Mad Scientist Digital, a bit of a mad scientist himself, we learn about why it’s never been a

Ducks in a row

Shorthand Most service-based businesses really find it hard to nail their value proposition and to express it in a way that’s really compelling. How many presos have you sat through where you’re shown slide after slide and you just want the nub of it? I learned this lesson myself early

Rebranding Branding Podcast #08

If you don’t have an internal communications plan – even a simple one – it is now time to create one. Communicating on brand – regularly and relevantly – to your internal teams is not just good practice but critical during COVID-19. Internal comms expert, Julie Weldon shares her tips and tricks


Everything is measurable  I’m a data nerd. And one of the beautiful things about digital is that everything is measurable. And that certainly extends to things like marketing and channel performance. But what metrics can digital marketers use to measure brand performance? Tammy Begley is Senior Marketing Strategy and Automation

Rebranding Branding Podcast #07

If you are a service business, what makes you any different or more valuable than the equivalent business down the road? How many service businesses have pitched to you, leaving you yawning after the first 10 minutes? Developing a signature system to package your value proposition is a must-have for


The who of personal branding  Lots of us dream of starting our own business, or side business. It may be to pursue a more creative career, to be more independent, to spend more time with our kids, or to pursue our passion. But whatever the reasons are, you need to

Rebranding Branding Podcast #06

For many non-marketers, brand is seen as intangible and an expense. Marketers often have to fight for budget to implement activities other than purely demand generation tactics. Speaking with digital marketing consultant, Tammy Begley from Destined, we uncover some meaningful brand metrics that can be used to monitor and evaluate brand

Rebranding Branding Podcast #05

We’re in unprecedented times. With the economy and our lives in lockdown and with many people losing their jobs, there’s never been a better time to hone and build your personal brand. Talking with personal branding guru, Andrew Ford, this podcast explores what personal branding is, who needs to build one


Watch your inputs!   The phrase ‘Garbage in, garbage out’ was coined by an IBM programmer in the 1960s to emphasise that outputs were only as good as the inputs. Companies couldn’t simply dump data into their computers; they needed the right data. This concept applies to many other fields, including

Rebranding Branding Podcast #04

In conversation with Adam Griffith, Managing Director of leading digital agency, Luminary, this podcast explores the importance of having a strong brand strategy to ensuring a successful digital project in process and outcome.


Brand is often misunderstood by startup founders, particularly by those who don’t have a branding and marketing background. They often think of branding as something not core to their business plan, something to be done later, after they are successful.  Or they brand early on but make a critical mistake

Rebranding Branding Podcast #03

Chatting with startup strategist and investor, CEO of SIP Management Consultants, Ernest Stabek, this podcast uncovers the importance of brand focus and investment for startups at different points of their journey, and some practical tips for those involved in this important and rapidly expanding part of the economy.


It’s obvious that natural disasters demand comprehensive cooperation. Federal, state and local governments, not-for-profit and commercial businesses, and individuals must all do their part to minimise loss of life, loss of property, and damage to the environment.  Yet how often do we see gaps in response, or even gaffes in

Rebranding Branding Podcast #02

Chatting with disaster response expert Renae Hanvin, CEO of Corporate2Community, this podcast discusses the importance of stakeholder engagement, it’s relationship to brand and some practical tips to prepare for disasters.

Rebranding Branding Podcast #01

This inaugural podcast hosted by Darren Taylor talks about why brand strategy is critical for all organisations to be successful today, as well as why he’s stepped up on the soap box and become a brand evangelist. 


Brand specialist Darren Taylor helps us glean the key take-outs from the Celeste Barber campaign, in our new fortnightly column with The Xfactor Collective.


The Xfactor Collective specialist member Darren Taylor answers a common question about how organisations can better achieve their organisational goals with a stronger internal commitment to brand, and provides practical steps to bring brand to the strategic fore.


Death, taxes, and recessions Three-quarters of economists polled by the Wall Street Journal think there will be a recession in the U.S. by the end of 2021. Bloomberg Economics thinks there’s a 27% chance of a recession in the next twelve months.  Whether it is sooner or later, in the


In my book Rebranding Branding, I discuss Tourism Australia’s scandalous 2006 campaign, ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’  In that campaign, Tourism Australia badly misjudged the sensibilities of foreigners to what we consider playful language. Coming from a culture that considers the Brits overly formal, how could Tourism Australia be


Not a one-time event. Is your brand always on? Or was it just a one-time event?  Do you have a dedicated brand budget? Or is it a subset of marketing? Does anyone speak up for branding, or it is the last thing to be added when there’s a surplus and


Blank stares When I ask clients how they measure the effectiveness of their brand, most look at me blankly.  Those who do answer, say: ‘By sales, naturally.’  Of course that’s one metric for measuring brand ROI. If your brand is working for you it will indeed translate into sales and