brand power


The world’s most expensive perfume

There are fragrances, there are luxury fragrances, and then there’s Clive Christian.

Originally established as The Crown Perfumery during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1872, the fragrance house had fallen upon hard times, with declining profits and a fall in the quality of its products. Perfumer Clive Christian purchased The Crown Perfumery in 1999, intent on restoring the brand back to its former glory.

The first release by the newly purchased company was the Original Collection, which featured the fragrances ‘1872’, ‘X’, and ‘No.1′. Today Clive Christian fragrances are widely known as the most expensive perfumes in the world, with prices that reach upwards of $800, and they’re happy to tell you that—you’ll find “The World’s Most Expensive Perfume” inscribed on the label of ‘No.1’ (US $2,150 an ounce to be exact). Mission accomplished: another great British brand revived and restored to its former glory (ala Burberry).

But what goes into such a lofty price tag? Well, there are the ingredients they use. The scent has top notes of bergamot, lime, Sicilian mandarin nutmeg, cardamom and thyme. The heart notes are more of heliotrope, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, and lily of the valley while the base notes smell of sandalwood, cedar wood, amber wood, vanilla, and vetiver. And all of the Clive Christian perfumes contain between 20 and 25% perfume, making them linger on the skin longer.

And then there is the packaging. The bottles are a work of art in and of themselves. Each bottle is handmade from lead crystal, while the neck is 24-karat gold-plated sterling silver, set with a solitaire. Not to mention that they have Queen Victoria’s stamp of approval – an enduring symbol of quality and British excellence.

Okay, let’s just get a reality check on all of this. Imagine you’re just starting your day. After a leisurely bath it’s time to choose which fragrance will best fit your mood. Instinctively, you reach for a bottle with a label proclaiming it is “The World’s Most Expensive Perfume.” A smug, satisfied smile reveals itself as you think, “I’ve made it, I’m wearing the world’s most expensive fragrance” –at US $750.00 for 50ml of liquid (two and a half table spoons), which works out to circa 70 cents a drop or US $30.00 per light spray.

But hey, if that’s the price for confidence in a bottle, maybe it’s not such a bad deal after all.

brand as story


Using fashion to get inside his opponent’s head

David August is a UK based provider of “tailor-made suits and casual wear for the most distinguished of business leaders, sports professionals and entertainers.” Their brand stands for confidence and assertiveness, and carries a whole lot of alpha male attitude. Their suits are only tailored to fit, and make the wearer look a million bucks. Which gets me on to my story.

The so-called ‘billion dollar megabout’ is happening on 26 August between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. And as with all fights, the two contenders met face-to-face in front of the press this week. Getting in your opponent’s head is a huge part of these pre-bout press conferences. Do it successfully, and you’ll throw him off his game, leaving you with the advantage. And neither fighter needs to be told this.

Except the way Conor McGregor set about getting inside Floyd Mayweather’s head was a first: he used fashion to do it.

Yep, Conor McGregor turned up wearing a supremely tailored bespoke David August pinstripe suit. And it wasn’t just any David August suit. The fabric was a custom, in-house product made of super 130s navy wool, which has been dressing McGregor for the entirety of his career. To pair with the suit, McGregor went for a lapel flower, hot pink tie, and a patterned pocket square. Way to go Conor!

But upon closer examination, you would notice that the pin stripes weren’t just ordinary, everyday pin stripes — the pin stripes were made out of the two words “Fuck You”, written over and over and over and over. Not that McGregor’s insults stopped at what was written on his suit, as he pointed to Mayweather saying, “He’s in a fucking track suit. He can’t even afford a suit any more.”

I reckon there were two BIG winners in this bout — Conor McGregor and David August. And wow, what a beautiful way for a UK-based, alpha male suit brand to make its mark on the world stage.


brand YOU


The itch you can’t ignore

Life comes in two flavours – the fixed, and the variable.

Most of the people I meet prefer ‘fixed’ over ‘variable’. They want a world that’s safe and secure. They want certainty over doubt. They are dead set on building a world and a future they can count on. And they have a plan to get them there.

At the same time – and in spite of their preference for things ‘fixed’ – they have a constant, nagging itch for the taste of something ‘variable’. The itch to take a risk. The itch to test, to prod, to dare, to try.

And then, like all itches, it stops itching, and is forgotten. And so it sits in the background of their lives, like an annoying pebble-in-the-shoe that pops up every now and then.

Unless they scratch the itch. Flare it up, make it even more itchy. But no, that never happens. And that’s because they have all been taught not to scratch their itch. At school. At home. By their parents. By their friends. “Stop scratching that itch Richard, you’ll just make it worse.”

In this way they have been fed a diet of ‘fixed’ food, off a menu that offers predictability; staying focused; being in control; playing it safe; lying low; avoiding danger; being reasonable; always having a plan; making it safely to death.

The brainwashing is subtle. It doesn’t change their basic need for safety. Instead it just uses that need to convince them that the comfort zone is the place where they need to live their lives. After all, “That’s what sensible people like you do”.

And yet, there is still that part in them that itches to climb trees, to leap about, to shout out, to throw the dice, to take it to the limit. YOLO!

For some the itch will become so overwhelming that it will dominate their days, and ask them put your soul on the line. And if that’s you, it is entirely possible that there won’t be a massive standing ovation for you at the end of today.

That’s okay. There’s still tomorrow.

And at least you lived 🙂

brand YOU


Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

For four years now I have asked groups of people to give themselves a score out of 10 when I make this statement: I am on fire and my work is remarkable.

And the average is a 7 … ALWAYS a 7. They tell me it won’t be a 7 in New York, but it’s a 7. It’s always a 7. Without exception. That’s because we have created a culture where we constantly remind one another about the dangers of standing up, standing out, being different, and being at odds with the group.

Nobody wants to be a 10 or a 4. Because the cardinal sin in the corporate cubicles and boardrooms is to be at odds with the group. The guy who scores himself a 10 is labelled “an arrogant dickhead”. The girl who scores herself a 4 is labelled a “hopeless loser”. Not literally, or to their face, but everyone is thinking it — and everyone knows everyone else is thinking it.

And so a 7/10 is the default setting. The comfort zone. Everyone in the room has been conditioned to prefer fitting in than standing out. Everyone in the room has been seduced into being invisible. Everyone in the room is there to do someone else’s bidding, not to speak their truth. The comfort zone.

My work, and just about everything I do with every waking moment of my life, is to get people to shift from being a 7 to being a 10. To help people discover and realise their full 10/10 potential.

And the first thing I always tell them is Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, so stop being a fucking 7.