Sarah's Blog

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci

"We admire success but we treasure fairness and opportunity" Susan Crawford

I regularly write on LinkedIn and occasionally on Stuff and  Medium

Through writing I discover what I think, how I see things and what interests me. Through the act of writing I can enjoy words, literacy, the music of language and can nourish something deep within.

Each of us has our own well of creativity that is there for us. Without filling and then drinking from that well we all become thirsty and the land becomes parched.

Simply find your creative outlet and spend time there. The rest will follow as night follows day. 

Vision, Set Course, Row


Over the years I have seen people both enjoy and resist transforming their organisations. It's  hard and challenging to both run the day-to-day business whilst re-engineering it to be fit for the future. Especially when there are so many unknowns. It's also hard to come to terms with the scale of change facing us all right now. From what will be the industries of the future to expanded life expectations, from environmental imperatives to technological advances. 

So the only way to work is to set the place on the horizon that is a best fit for the moment, work out the course and the distance, how long will it take to get there, what supplies will you need for the journey and then start to row. Row, row, row. A strong captain, committed oarsmen and a desire to reach the destination and to dig down deep to get past all the difficulties along the way. 

A good song always helps pass the time and lift the spirits. 

But How Does It Make Money?

There's a reason money doesn't grow on trees. 

There's a reason money doesn't grow on trees. 

You can't get far in business circles without that question answered - well unless you are in tech and then, if you ask that question, people can deride your misunderstanding of the world of tech(nology) and the way the money works in that world. After all Twitter did not have a proven category let alone a full on model of how it could take the world by storm and make money.

I went to the planners conference yesterday organised by APG. The conversation was around being human and tech. The overriding conclusion was that tech is neither good nor bad - and it's up to us - it's our use of tech that makes the difference. Russell Davies' well honed presentation showed us that organisations are typically bad at tech and Baroness Greenfield (good name btw) showed us neuroscientific evidence that consumers are consumed by it - especially the smallest of our tribe - who are being changed by tech in the very way their brains adapt to the external world. Steve Hilton, the author of More Human who, judging by even a brief ogle on Go-ogle, is well used to being derided himself. That's what happens if you try to put a round peg into a square hole (government policy) and then go even further to try to make the hole round. 

The other major theme, that had to be curtailed to allow everyone to the bar, was to get children and adults into nature, to get away from tech wherever possible, (Steve gave up a mobile years ago, (bet he sneaks a mobile puff off others)) to eat together, to share time without external distractions, to read books where our own human imaginations get a chance before the computer generated geeks get inside your head and tell you what to imagine first. 
Russell Davies' other thought was to replace the word 'digital' with the word 'gravity' and to see if it still makes sense. His point was there is some pretty meaningless dialogue going on around the word 'digital' which is not moving anyone forward. 

So back to the title - what if we replace the word 'joy' with the word 'money'. What if each business team asked 'but how does it make joy?' And then we recognise people will value joy - not pleasure - pure joy...and then there will be an exchange - could be bitcoins / could be rice / could be a smile...the key thing is it would change the conversation and more importantly change the aspiration - we wouldn't put more chocolate in children's cereal - we wouldn't put more addictive content in food, we wouldn't put more feeble excuses for news in papers. It wouldn't all have to be PollyAnnaish - which makes everyone sick in the end - but joy can have a richer, deeper thought. Rebecca Moody was adland astute when she said we have to satisfy human needs - not wants - we, as planners and strategists, have to go far deeper than the obvious sugar cravings, the junk brand strategies that the developed world currently has a habit for producing. So if we are ready to go that bit deeper then we can ask deeper questions about the meaning and purpose of what we are all here for. And everyone in every position of responsibility can be thinking about this in their showers, on their buses, in their chauffeur driven do we make joy? Let the money / bitcoins / buttons flow to that and now we have something to behold. By the way Dom Boyd who chairs the APG in such a gorgeous manner, reminded me of someone - and now I just realised - he's a bit like a taller Eddie Redmayne. 


What do you stand for?

Thinker, strategist, progressive

I write what occurs to me and type what I want. I don't run a newspaper or lead an inquiry. I run a business and lead a life. When people choose me and my team to work with them they do so because they need support in branding and want to create a presence. They don't compare me to Interbrand or Saatchi. I don't do beauty parades with five other agencies. We work with business owners and charities on branding. We study market sectors for clients. We create concepts and deliver on ideas.

Work with Heart

Brands are about people. Brands are about human emotions. Brands in my world make a difference and have deep values. Brands are not shadows behind which to hide cynical intentions. They are not a screen from which to shield the puppet master. Quite the reverse - they are beacons of truth that light up the sky and create lasting trails towards a better place. Good sales figures do not necessarily show success to me - it's not good enough to rely on market forces - sex sells, gossip is a hit, sugary foods fly off the shelves, chocolate cereals - all a delinquency of duty in my book. Branding is a powerful art and it can be dark - all the more reason to head for the light on my watch. I work with those who care deeply about their impact on the world - of course they want success and to run outstanding companies - that's a given. The real point is they are ready to tread lightly and to live and work with principle.

Be Yourself

There is a lot of mediocrity around and much of it does very well. That's not my bag. Luckily there are a lot of branding agencies in the world from which to choose. The quest for excellence defies logic and it is those people with the urgency to push against the crowd and literally defy the norm when required that I have an affinity with. That makes me unusual. But it's not about me, it's about you. It's about who you are and what you want and what you are prepared to give to get. Then branding is outstanding and exciting and a rush of blood to the heart...not just to the head.

Art Style Authority

How We Relate To Others 

See your direction clearly


All Becomes Clear

Lois finds after a period of reflection and thought that she admires Joni's artistic abilities and she relates to her perspective on the world and society. She thinks Joni is saying important things and she is inspired to say things herself and express her own creativity even more. She wants to be more like Joni. A free spirit with a deep soul.

She realises that Fiona values the way people look, how they dress and Lois realises wants to express her own style
and sense of fun more authentically  
whilst retaining her deepest held values. 

She realises that Michael is quite domineering, he is so self-assured. Lois recognises that she wants to spend time defining her own values, so she is as self-assured  and is able to express them clearly and strongly if and when necessary. In that way if Michael challenges her or has opinions or ways she disagrees with - then she can quietly and confidently put across her own point of view. 

By reflecting on our relationship with others and the feelings they bring out in us, we can begin to deal with issues and opportunities that have previously been eluding us. 


It's Our Responsibility To Understand

Understanding our relationships with those around us is fundamental to our lives both personal and professional. Why do some make our heart stir and others leave us cold? Why do some people inspire us to action and others motivate us to find the nearest exit? 

It's Us Not Them

It is well accepted psychologically that when others inspire or offend us the issue is not about the other but about ourselves. It is within us. So here's an example to illustrate the point and how to work through and root out issues that may be preventing you express yourself fully. 

Lois Takes A Look

Take four people - Joni Mitchell, the singer, Fiona, the PR, Michael, the FD and Lois Lane, a fictional character. This scenario is seen through the eyes of Lois Lane. It is Lois Lane's growth we are witnessing.

Lois loves Joni - she thinks she's amazing, she's hippy, cool, bohemian, beautiful, talented and soulful. Lois dislikes someone she knows called Fiona, who is a PR and Lois can't understand why Fiona drives her nuts. Fiona is beautiful and talented too. She also knows the FD at her newspaper, Michael - who she tolerates when she meets him in passing but who she would much rather avoid altogether. Yet Michael is talented and well meaning. Lois starts to wonder what is it about these three people that bring out the different moods in her. She'd rather enjoy time with each of them and not be affected.

Others may be sent to try us, but through this we can understand our own desires and opportunities more clearly. Their very presence helps us grow.
— Sarah Farrugia

A Brand New World

Revving up for a good one...

Image of Sean Connery by Terry O'Neil  Taken by Pete Johnson at Ransom Art for Centrepieces

Image of Sean Connery by Terry O'Neil 
Taken by Pete Johnson at Ransom Art for Centrepieces


The New Year affects everyone - whether you are a curmudgeon or a Pollyanna. The New Year is always a time that makes people reflect on their lives, their hopes, both lost and unfulfilled, their failings, both real and imagined and their expectations, both high and low. 

Blogs are a great way to articulate quickly what you are about. They help businesses explore new ideas, test concepts, experiment more. They are a wonderful sounding board and feedback loop. 

Of course they are also a platform for ill considered statements and ego based publicity trips.

That's the point - they reveal much - about the inner machinations and thinking of the organisation or the person who writes them. It's much harder to mask the reality with a fully social organisation.

That's what's so refreshing and invigorating about marketing today in the real world, with real possibilities shared by so many from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

So here's to 2014 - and everything she can bring us - each and every one.