I’ve never been an early bird. Catching the worm is over-rated. Yet here I am, flying through the Chilterns as the sun rises over the dew-soaked fields. Deer lift their heads and give a cursory glance to the green bullet steaming into London. I take a sip of coffee and return my focus to my laptop screen. Getting my morning admin and emails done before 9AM is benefit of the once-a-week commute. Rolling straight from bed to my WFH-set-up is a different sort of benefit, reserved for the rest of the week.

‘The next station is London Marylebone. This train terminates here.’

I make the final leg of my journey across to our offices near Blackfriars Bridge and begin getting in the mindset for what promises to be an exciting day. As with most days, today is a real variety pack of what we do. Perfect for a blog post. A half day workshop (F2F!) followed by some internal and external meetings in the afternoon across a couple of different projects. First a chance to catch-up with my project team before our workshop attendees arrive.

The plan for the workshop today is to get really specific on some consumer facing language and embed the new creative vision we have formulated within the wider brand team, as well as their external agencies. It’s been an exciting brand positioning project that has evolved from sharpening some internal language, to repositioning the brand as a super-premium category challenger with a whole new look and feel. I am the project lead, so will be running the session today along with Jamie (Strategy Partner) and Alex (Strategic Design Director). 

We kick off the session with a presentation of the detailed brand strategy work that has been designed into visually impactful slides and booklets to inspire and excite the attendees. With lunch, we get a chance to taste some of the brand’s next liquid innovation… did I mention we work with alcohol brands? And in the second-half of the workshop, we whip out the post-its and pens and work through a range of creative exercises to get everyone’s brains whirring.

At 2:30PM we wrap things up, outline our next steps, and shake hands. Time to dive back into that variety pack…

A 30-minute internal catch-up is taken in person with Jess (Junior Designer), and Paula (Senior Strategist) who’s running the project, joins online. This is a big Brand Innovation Project where we are in the final stages of defining the innovation pipeline for a spirits category leader’s portfolio. Today, we are reviewing a trio of ‘packcepts’ (inspirational pack designs) that bring to life the written concepts I’ve been working on. They are future-facing, code-breaking, and cool… but, could we push one of them further? Be more provocative and come at things from an even more progressive angle?

Next, I take a quick client call to talk through some details for an ideation workshop in three months’ time. The idea is to run the workshop in an inspiring location – something to get the attendees out from their home offices and back into the real world. Or at least a luxury version of the real world. Our task of repositioning a global premium spirits brand requires a renewed understanding of contemporary status. A night in Portugal is on the cards, with a guest speaker from British Vogue (for some ‘out of category’ inspiration), a private viewing of a modern art gallery, and rooftop ‘golden hour’ cocktails rustled-up by a top, sustainability-first, mixologist. This is going to require a small uplift in budget… I’ll get that signed-off in the morning – post-5pm emails are not a vibe.

‘Drinks anyone?’

Two floors up, with a panoramic view of London, a terrace, and a fully-stocked fridge, is the members’ bar on the top floor of The Hoxton, Southwark. The group of us working in the studio today, grab a couple of drinks and catch-up as the sun begins to sink lower in the sky. I look-up the next train home, settle-up for my round, and bid my colleagues goodnight: ‘I’ll see you next week, or maybe the week after’.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities within the strategy team, please get in touch at careers@hainesmcgregor.co.uk