Tribute to Wally Olins, the Original Brand Consultant
1930 – 2014.
I’m sorry to write that the most influential brand consultant of our time has now moved on.
Wally was the co-founder of Wolff Olins (with Michael Wolff) and ran the business for thirty years. Wolff Olins was one of the first brand consultancies as we know them today and arguably the greatest. After thirty-odd years, Wally successfully sold it to American advertising giant Omnicom for £30 million when Wally was around 70 years of age.
Their most noticeable work included the 1990 British Telecom rebrand as BT using the piper logo and Orange’s tagline; “The futures bright, the future’s Orange”.
It has been said that if you were a designer you’d use Pentagram to rebrand you, but if you wanted success you went to Wolff Olins.
In Wally’s later years, he became a bit of an icon, with his round glasses and colourful bow ties you could argue that he’d branded himself. In fact, Wally rarely did anything without a purpose, so I’m sure it was all intended.
I never met Wally, but I’ve read some of his books and passed them on to my clients as well. What made him unique to me was how he spoke his truth. Wally’s latest book, Brand New, has just been launched so it’s too early to say how that will fair. However, I’m sure his final rebrand, that of himself from human to angel will be a glorious success.