Sunday, November 29, 2015

HERALDRY: Beer, Branding and Paul Walton (Updated May 17, 2016)

Paul C. Walton, Brand Professional and Amateur
Heraldist. Photo in NYC by JT Marlin.
One of the flurry of messages I have received since the publication of my article (OT, Vol. 28, No. 1, 45-50) on the heraldry of the Oxford colleges was a suggestion that I meet with the correspondent.

I did so recently at the Harvard Club in New York City. My new friend is Paul Walton, who is in the branding business and is an amateur herald.

He gave me the 1953 book, Simple Heraldry, which I have reviewed here. We spoke mostly about heraldry as a medieval form of branding. He has suggested a number of leads for me to pursue and I am grateful.

The Importance of Brand Differentiation

Flag of Col. Richard Bagot, fighting
for England (St. George's Cross),
i.e., Charles I. Cromwell won.
Paul said the reenactments of British Civil War battles in memory of Col. Richard Bagot show how important it is to be able to
  • distinguish friend from foe on the hazy battlefield, and
  • identify leaders from a distance by rank as well as regiment, so that battle groups can form. 
Col. Bagot died of his wounds received at Naseby in 1645, when Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax won a decisive battle against Charles I. It was a battle with many moments of confusion. Charles might well have won it. A lesson about keeping your head.

He noted that in the Battle of Bull Run – known as Manassas to residents of the South  – the first Confederate flag (the "Stars and Bars") was too like the Yankee Stars and Stripes to allow the troops to distinguish between them, leading to "friendly" fire. (See James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, in the Oxford History of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988, p. 342.)

After Manassas, the South adopted the more easily distinguished Southern Cross, the St. Andrew-style saltire. Paul recommended I visit the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond to see how the flags developed.

History of Branding

I said I suspected that men in battle have had to brand themselves as soon as they put on helmets. At an Oxford alumni event in New York City I asked a visiting Greek historian how combatants could distinguish ally from foe when there were so many city states. She said that the animals on Greek pottery represent family images that would have appeared on armor, and that armor was sufficiently distinctive that there were other clues. Paul noted that the Game of Thrones uses animals as avatars.

Once a picture of some sort is used to add value to a product, the chance to be deceptive comes up. Patroclus got into Achilles' armor and died because of it.

From here we got into discussing counterfeiting. He said that the French confiscate anything that is found to be counterfeit. They show no tolerance for it. Yet the extent to which a brand adds value is a way to measure the results of advertising.

Value from Branding

Paul's expertise is in brand finance, which means the accounting for intangible ("goodwill") assets. The market value of a company is higher than its tangible assets. This difference is viewed as something created by branding. It is the goodwill generated by advertising, public relations and marketing.

He formed the Value Engineers in 1986 in Beaconsfield, Bucks. Since 2005 it has become part of the Cello Group. The company focuses on health care and consumer products.

The Golden Fleece used by Brooks Brothers, for example, has brand value. The symbol goes back to Philip III ("the Good"), the 15th-century Duke of Burgundy whose knights were named The Order of the Golden Fleece. Their symbol was a lamb suspended in a ribbon. In the 19th century when Henry S. Brooks saw the sheep hanging from shops on Savile Row, he decided to adopt this brand or logo in 1850, when it was painted above the door in New York.

Shotover Brewing Company

One of Paul's enterprises is the Shotover Brewing Company. He has therefore been looking at the heraldic history of brewing marks. The five-pointed red star on Heineken beer is a brewer's mark common in northern Europe. It signifies the five elements of beer-making:
A kennel manager takes dogs for a walk on Shotover
Hill. The van has four carriers opening to the back,
and more to the side. Photo by JT Marlin.
  1. Hops
  2. Malt
  3. Barley
  4. Water
  5. The Brewer's Art, Alchemy, Magic
Shotover Hill is outside of Oxford on what was once a coach road to London. It was also a royal forest. Charles Wesley was robbed on the hill in 1737.

Now it is an ancient woodland and park. A Queen's College scholar reportedly killed a wild boar on Shotover Hill by feeding his copy of an Aristotle text to him. Pearls before swine.

The Shotover Brewing Company is located on the southern (London) side of Shotover Hill.
The four brands of Shotover Brewing Company.
One (Trinity) is named after an Oxford college.

The Company has four brands of beer – Prospect, Scholar, Porter and Trinity.

Only one is named after an Oxford College, and it is not his own – he went to BNC. (Not the easiest brand to market. Brasenose Beer might work.)

More about Paul Walton

Having done some due diligence for this article I have looked up Paul's website and I would like to share a peek into his interesting life:
Originally an advertising planner who preferred making brands to making ads, he wrote Bluff Your Way in Marketing with business partner Graham Harding to bring a little wit and sizzle to the solidly worthy protein offered by the likes of Philip Kotler. 
As the driving force of brand consultancy, The Value Engineers, he brought an energetic blend of structure and creativity to global branding projects for clients such as BA, BP and Unilever. When TVE joined Cello Group in 2005, Paul was appointed to the main board as Director of Strategy. In 2012, he swapped PLC board meetings for the equally challenging seminars of an MA in Creative Writing and started work on his first novel, Historyland, a dark comedy set in a near-future England, which has become a giant theme park. Now combining an advisory role at TVE with his writing, Paul enjoys exploring how inspiration from the arts can stimulate new thinking for people, organizations and brands to deploy against today's big issues: positioning, connection, coherence and growth. In this role, he has been known to wear many hats, but these days there is no hiding the colour of his hair.
Keeping Up

I expect to have more to say about branding and heraldry:
  • Who keeps track of brands the way that the College of Arms keeps track of English heraldic designs?
  • What other heraldic charges have become consumer brands or trademarks?
You could follow this blog or Paul Walton's.

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