Following extensive rebranding  exercises from two of the UK’s leading interior design companies, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio and MKV Design, Hospitality Interiors got in touch with the talented London brand consultancy responsible – Principal Ingredient. Here, co-founder Gillon Campbell tells us more ...

Could you tell us a little about your background Gillon?
My passion for brands started at an early age and probably the first time I became conscious of it was when I was the only one who enjoyed watching adverts on TV, while everyone else would talk through them. I’m still the same today my wife tells me! I just find it fascinating to see how brands present themselves, try to engage with audiences to sell more.

My career in branding started at Procter & Gamble, on their graduate program. I worked on Pringles Crisps. But I found their very strategic approach to building brands quite unimaginative. So I embarked on a journey after I left, where I moved from more creative agencies to more strategic consultancies seeking the right balance, until ultimately founding Principal Ingredient with Igor Jocic my business partner and creative genius of the business.

Could you please provide a brief overview of Principal Ingredient?
Igor and I set up the business because we simply saw a better way to build brands. Our belief is that to make a really strong and successful brand you need to combine both smart and insightful thinking with intense creativity.  By working in tandem, you not only spark creative genius but also elevate a strategy into something truly extraordinary.

Every one of our projects involves regular strategy and creative sessions, so I know from experience that this approach gets the very best results.

And we really care about our clients’ success – we do whatever it takes to make sure our work transforms their businesses, because brands, like any investment, need to prove themselves commercially.

Could you talk a little about the team at Principal Ingredient?
We have a senior, highly talented and hugely enthusiastic team with amazing experience, who have worked in leading international companies like Procter & Gamble, LVMH, Tata Global Beverages; and global branding agencies like Interbrand, Landor, Wolff Olins.

This is really important for our clients, as we frequently deal with business owners and board level members, who seek a high level of expertise.

Could you talk about your recent work with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio and MKV Design?
We have a huge amount of experience in the B2B service industry as well as a number of close contacts within interior design, so it felt completely natural to work within this sector.

What we love about this sector is it overlaps so closely with branding. Creating an interior design for a client, whether it’s a home, restaurant, bar, hotel or resort, is all about creating an experience, engaging people and moving them on an emotional level.

Unlike other industries, interior designers intuitively understand that branding aims to do the same. We’ve loved working in the industry because of this and also because designers really value high quality execution.

Could you talk about the work you did with each studio in more detail?
We first started working with MKV Design. For a long time, the personality and ethos of MKV was only expressed through their client projects. They actively avoided investing in their brand as they wanted to express themselves through their work.

However, when you are hired by a client they put their confidence in you, and they need that confidence to be reflected, not just in the job-well-done, but in your own pride. But MKV were not expressing their confidence strongly and the business was struggling to express its value. This was having a significant impact, as at times their visionary and intelligent design was being taken for granted.

Interviews with their clients, suppliers and employees helped us uncover what made them so unique – it illuminated a lot about them that they did not think of as very special and so it helped them understand their value and why their clients respected them so much.

The brand design we created emerged from this in-depth understanding of the business – it conveys the somewhat mysterious elegance that you experience when working with MKV. Their work is more than captivating aesthetics, it is brilliantly clever and now the brand and the team can express this in everything they do, to dramatic effect. 

Martin Brudnizki Design Studio has never been short of confidence. It is an extremely busy place, both here (in London) and New York, and they are only getting busier and bigger. So it was extremely important for them that we capture, clarify and articulate the creative ethos established by its iconic founder as the business grows.

Our focus was to clearly define the brand and articulate it in an engaging way so everyone from a senior manager to a junior designer understood what the business stood for.

So that is exactly what we did. We immersed ourselves in the business to gain the necessary insight into Martin’s vision, his approach, ethos to design etc. A lot of intriguing and unexpected observations were revealed that helped us shape a very incisive yet inspiring brand strategy for MBDS.

Since completing the work the studio now has clear principles to work from born from Martin’s thinking, but without it needing to come from Martin himself all the time. This is helping move one of the most celebrated design studios in the world towards an even more successful future.

Equipping brands with the ability to inspire is at the heart of what you do – from where does your team find its inspiration?
It is all driven by the effect that brands have on people, their ability to communicate so much with so little, in an instant.

We see now and again how successful brands garner trust and emotional engagement from the most diverse audiences, managing to create huge following from seemingly nowhere. It is a multiplier effect fuelled by pure emotion, but they also have the ability to change attitudes and quality of thinking and perception.

We love it when we light that spark in our clients’ eyes, when they realise they can be more than they ever thought possible. So you could say what inspires us is to see others truly inspired. We even made one of our clients cry with joy in a presentation – she was overcome with emotion, amazed at how we had captured and expressed their brand.