Research, being a vital initial part of any brand activities, is becoming more sophisticated in terms of techniques and methods year by year. In the interview to Popsop, a Director at River Research, Zoe Best, who heads up the agency’s Innovation offer, explains which new innovative techniques have come into play recently, shares her vision on what’s a real value of the research for a brand, and  how her relatively small independent agency manages to work globally providing a boutique service.

Biles Inc. is rare sort of a small creative business that breaks stereotypes about the size, having proved that it does not really matter when it comes to winning big clients. “Small agency –big difference” — that’s what they stand for. Anthony Biles, the founder and Principal, told Popsop about why he decided to launch his own business, why not having a central London office is a plus point, and explained why he thinks boutique is the best format of running a design agency.

While for some, Identica is sort of perpetuated as ‘the empire of Michael Peters’, which created the famous Russian Standard Vodka, the company nowadays has evolved to become a dynamic and diverse growing structure with rich multidisciplinary offer and refined positioning as guru of brand icons. Richard Morris, Managing Director of Identica, tells about what the agency is strategically up to, explains what is a brand icon and how his team manages to ‘create, evolve and restore’ them and why they closed down the Moscow office 3 years ago.

Having been set 8 years ago in London by our today’s interviewee Nick Dormon, Echo is made up of an eclectic mix of people, backgrounds, insights and experience which best matches the challenges faced by brand-owners — there isn’t a one size fits all approach. Echo’s fresh, but intelligent approach combined with uncompromised values influenced the likes of Unilever and Molson Coors to choose Echo as their creative partner on some significant and long-term projects.

In the interview to Popsop Nick shares his insight on the importance of graphics and structural design as one entity, explains why ‘madness, magic and meaning’ are the core Echo’s values, and argues on the shift from designing for stand-out to meaningful branding.

Our today’s interviewee is Hugh Robertson, Founding Partner and CEO of the London-based marketing agency RPM , Board Director at the MAA, successful businessmen, and simply a very bright and optimistic person. Hugh told Popsop about what a young person needed to start a business, how the role of ATL vs BTL marketing had changed over years, and what had kept him busy and inspired through his entire 19-year career in marketing.

Today’s Popsop guest and speaker is a very bright personality with a multicultural background and broad variety of interests and skills. French-born from Serbian parents, he speaks 5 languages including French, English, Mandarin, Russian and Serbian, holds degree in Applied Maths from prestigious Ecole Centrale de Paris and Management Science degree from Shanghai Jiaotong University. This is the man who dared to take a dive into the China world back in 2001 and launched a successful brand and research ‘laboratory balancing between rationality and creativity’ there. Now Shanghai-based Labbrand, founded and headed by Vladimir Djurovic, is an internationally recognized brand expert with clients such as ClubMed, L’Oréal, P&G, Disney, Volkswagen, IKEA, Gucci Group, Häagen-Dazs, ING, Nestle, TESCO and many others.

American packaging design industry veteran, Ted Mininni of Design Force, considers how the design providers became more ‘left-brained’ and analytical over years, shares the firm’s ‘survival strategy’ for the recessionary times and recommends some good and inspiring read for the U.S. peers.