Brand Rules

What sets you apart


Whether you’re just starting out or already in a rut, you know you need to set yourself, your company, or your product apart from the herd. You know you need to talk with someone. We invite you to talk to us.

At Brand Rules, we’ve learned that contentious conversations are the most productive. Tentative, cautious talks never generate creative lightning, but difficult, even painful, conversations produce results.

Together, we will think well beyond your present boundaries. You may not like hearing that your baby’s ugly. But suppose he is? You can’t just sit there being defensive.

What conversations do you need right now? Who can contribute to them? Futurists? Marketing experts? Operating minds? Finance professionals? We can provide them.

Should you think more creatively and less analytically about change? How much change do you need? How much can you tolerate? What traps have already snared you? None of that’s pleasant to contemplate, is it? But you must.

At Brand Rules we have the range and depth of experience—and the desire—to help you develop strategy and tactics that will make you a winner.

Our core team at Brand Rules includes:

Charlie Hughes

“We live in an over-served world full of monotonous undifferentiated products. Brand differentiation is critically important to a company’s success.” To spell out how to and how not to do that, Charlie and co-author William Jeanes published their first book, Branding Iron, in September 2006. Subtitled “Branding Lessons from the Meltdown of the U.S. Auto Industry,” Branding Iron earned critical acclaim both in and outside of the auto industry. Advertising Age named it number two on their “Ten books you should have read” in 2006.

“The challenge is even greater today, for to truly lead companies need to meld traditional brand differentiation with serial preemptive actions. A tough act to perfect.”

Charlie has worked on 11 automotive brands, both domestic and import, and at the Doyle Dane Bernbach advertising agency. He headed marketing efforts for the U.S. operations of Fiat, Lancia, Porsche-Audi and Volkswagen.

Charlie is best known for his successes with Land Rover and Mazda. As the founding CEO of Land Rover in North America, Charlie built the company from scratch in 15 months and grew Land Rover sales from zero in 1986 to revenues of over a billion dollars in 1998–profitably. He successfully introduced Range Rover followed by Land Rover to Americans, and in so doing created the luxury sport utility segment. Along the way Land Rover broke new ground in automotive retailing by creating Land Rover Centres—a truly branded retail experience—and founded Land Rover University, which inspired passion throughout the retail associates who staffed Land Rover Centres.

Charlie than served as President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations where he redefined and established Mazda’s position in the U.S. and Canadian markets as “Mazda…always the soul of a sports car!” A positioning brought to life in the “Zoom-Zoom” advertising campaign. In his first full year, Mazda turned a profit for the first time in a decade.

Since Mazda, Charlie has helped Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Mooney Airplane, AGCO, Nerium Biotech and a host of other companies. Charlie’s combination of serious brand and operational credentials gained from profitably growing two automotive companies gives him perspective and credibility that is rare these days.

Roger Ball

Charlie’s co-conspirator at Brand Rules is Roger Ball, who capitalizes on experience gained on four continents over three decades to guide manufacturers and dealers to creative solutions for problems that leave a choice of change or wither.

Roger leavens this work by acting as a mentor for England’s Art Council’s Arts & Business unit. This UK Government arm aspires to be the world’s most successful and widespread creative network. It runs a series of highly reputed professional development programs which promote the exchange and development of skills between the business and arts communities to which Roger brings his unique blend of humor, leadership and moderating.

Do you have the vision to set yourself apart? The will? You can lead the herd, or be content to move with the herd. Leading is a lot more satisfying. How do you move ahead of the herd?

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Your want to do great work that utterly dismays your competitors. As if you are flying a plane to a destination you want to get to first. What do you need to pilot a very fast plane?

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What is the right conversation to be having in your company right this moment? How much change do you want? Need? Tolerate? Who can guide you on this journey of change?

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