‘A good brand strategy is like a compass for its soul’ — meet MB strategist, Cici Baxter
With Moving Brands’ 25th birthday approaching, it seems like the perfect time to find out a bit more about some of the inspiring creatives and strategic thinkers that make up the team. Here, we catch up with senior strategist Cici Baxter about the importance of brand strategy, the part it can play in creating a better world and the joy of cracking a brand’s code to unearth its core truth.
Tell us about yourself and your role at Moving Brands.
I’m a British Brazilian curious soul and strategist marrying analytical thinking with creative flair. I believe in creating simple yet powerful strategies that lead with empathy.
I’ve chosen to use my career as a platform to work with interesting people and brands that are moving the world forward, driven by the belief that strategy has the potential to direct and create change. I’ve been with MB for a year, working from the London office.
What is the most memorable MB project you’ve worked on to date?
Rebranding Topshop/Topman was the first project I worked on at MB, and was such a joy. It’s a brand most Brits know and love, so to be a part of the team who was responsible for reinvigorating it for a new era was everything.
Topshop and Topman have always straddled the space between luxury and the high street. In building their new visual identity, we looked to decode new luxury, finding and creating visual codes the brand could embrace while ensuring their London spirit was always prominent. Our research found that today’s high street space lacks meaning and feels homogenous, so we looked at ways to elevate the brand and bring something new to the category.
What recent industry development is exciting you the most?
It’s a bit macro, but I’m loving the notion of decentralisation that is touching everything. It’s not a recent phenomenon, but I believe it’s shifting so many areas of our life, allowing anyone and everyone to be more creative. It is forcing brands to change and rethink their foundational elements, especially when it comes to communication. I look forward to seeing where it goes.
Why is brand strategy important?
A good brand strategy is like a compass for the soul and commerciality of a brand. It should help pave the way forward and give direction as to where the brand can and shouldn’t play.
Ultimately, if you don’t have it — or don’t have a good one — you can get lost and lose your sense of self.
What’s the most exciting and/or rewarding element of brand strategy?
For me, the most exciting thing is when you crack the code and get to something that genuinely feels right for the brand you are working with. It’s an energy-change moment that you can recognise in the eyes of your client and team, the spirit of the conversation and the atmosphere in the room.
The most rewarding and inspiring element for me is also when our creative team breathes life into the strategy, and you can see it manifested into the world in a unique way.
What part can brand strategy play in making the world a better place?
If design is the execution, strategy is the plan. I think it’s evident from existing in the world today that we need better plans. We need more sustainable, equitable, beautiful, and inspiring plans that move us forward. In brief — we need better strategies.
Can design really fix the world’s biggest problems?
Fundamentally, yes. I believe everything in this world comes back to design. The foremost designer is earth and nature itself, so in a way, design existed long before us.
Having said that, I see design as a tool — it’s not the ultimate solution. Design is dictated by human ideology: thoughts, ideas and ways of thinking. Ultimately, to fix the world’s biggest problems, it’s we humans who need to change.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It’s OK not to take the linear path. Follow and pursue all your interests and go towards what lights you up. It will not only make you a better strategist but a better person and human.
Complete this sentence: In my lifetime, I’d like design to…
Create more harmony, beauty and joy for all those seeking and in need of it.