Just read a blog post from Seth Godin on saying versus doing. That when the gap between saying something and doing something becomes too big, people stop listening to your saying altogether. It’s a problem I’m all too familiar with, both at work and at home!

It’s also a big deal when it comes to brands. You make a brand promise, and then failing when it comes to brand delivery impacts your brand. Whether you’re a company or an individual, same rules apply.


Monocle Forecast x Langenscheidt

This year’s Monocle’s Forecast also opens with 10 observations on people and places. One of the observations looks at Langenscheidt, a German publishing company with a range of language dictionaries.


Three key takeouts from this piece for me personally:

  1. Important to consider the impacts of online on resources like this and redefining value in a world post Babelfish and very much Google Translate; I definitely didn’t consider the effect of online translators on dictionaries from companies like Langenscheidt, but I personally like travelling with language books and I also like speaking a phrase into my phone and letting an app translate for me.
  2. Langenscheidt has been around since 1856 but its current branding is a refresh from 2013. I think the strong commitment to brand and aesthetics is refreshing itself and facilitates positive associations to what sounds like a historic, traditional German brand.
  3. More important for the Langenscheidt brand is its underlying shared value to its customers. The company launched its German-Arabic dictionary online for free with audio pronunciations in 2015. For free. During a time when German authorities and volunteers were struggling to communicate with refugees. This is brand brilliance! A brand must encompass shared value – value for both company and customer.

And, in a sea of depressing news from any and every news organisation, you know, those news organisations that are supposed to direct our attention to large institutional failures within our political and social arrangements (thanks, Alain de Botton!)… well, Langenscheidt, a brand with profit aspirations, it did that for us instead.


The company published the list of most popular search words from the German-Arabic online dictionary (oh the pleasures of digital metrics): “help”, “love”, “friend” and most important of all “welcome”.

Perhaps the world isn’t as horrible as The Daily Mail. Perhaps there’s hope in humanity. Perhaps people are inherently good. Perhaps brands are too.

Andy Warhol x Absolut Vodka


Setting myself a painting challenge this year. With our brand new yellow wall and a recent trip to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei Exhibition, I’m going to try recreating this piece. I haven’t quite mastered the art of appreciating vodka, but I do love my brands.

I can’t seem to find too much information about this piece but I do know that these are the original bottles that Warhol designed for the Absolut Warhol campaign in 1986.

From 1986 onwards, Absolut Vodka commissioned over a thousand pieces of art from artists including Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha, Annie Leibovitz, and Damien Hirst. Some of this art was used for Absolut Vodka’s print advertising.

In 1986, Andy Warhol became the first artist to create an original piece of art for Absolut after he announced, “I love the bottle, I want to do something…”