News • 10 05 2019

A Q&A with James Batters, Business Director in our London office

We recently welcomed James Batters to our London office as Business Director.

As Business Director at Dragon Rouge London, James is responsible for partnering with clients to help them through significant brand strategy and identity programs, working to ensure their goals are achieved.

James brings over a decade of international brand building to this role, from time in Switzerland and Australia, and with global brands in London. During that time, James has delivered projects across all aspects of brand expression with a client list that’s balanced between blue-chip corporate and fast-paced consumer brands. This broad experience makes James well positioned to advise clients through the challenges ahead. Past clients include Barclays, The FA, P&G, JTI and The Coca-Cola Company.

James is passionate about uncovering the truth at the heart of a brand and using this to create meaningful, lasting relationships that drive business success.

We sat down with him to quiz him about his favourite city to work in, favourite projects and first impressions of Dragon Rouge.

1. You've lived in Geneva, Sydney and London. Which is best to live in and how does working in a branding agency differ in each city, culturally?

Geneva gave me access to European exploration, the Alps, and let me cut my teeth working with some of the world’s biggest FMCG brands. Sydney gave me sunshine and the experience of building brands in an Asia-Pacific environment. London doesn’t have the weather, but it makes up for it with the rich, multi-faceted culture and fast-paced demands of the brands that are trying to keep up. While each place and culture has left its mark on me, the diversity and scale of the work led from London means it pips the others to the post, luckily.

2. What was it that attracted you to Dragon Rouge?

As an independent global network, Dragon Rouge gives you the benefits of global reach but at a scale where you can get directly involved in affecting the business, as opposed to being just a cog in the wheel. This was one of the main attractions, along with the breadth of the offer; from insight driven NPD to brand experience design and everything in-between. Being part of a team of smart, inspiring, creative minds doing a great, balanced body of work helps too.

3. Service brands or FMCG?

Tomato, tomato. Both have their challenges and highlights, but I’m particularly interested in how FMCG brands are adapting to the new retail landscape. ‘Build it and they’ll come’ no longer holds true. Our work now needs to be more multi-faceted than ever before and forces us to think with greater clarity about the brand’s role in the world. It’s a challenging, exciting time.

4. What's your golden rule?

Take on the other’s world view:
Agencies and brands are similar in many ways. We both offer a product or a service, based on a promise and built around a relationship. We can’t build long-lasting relationships with clients or end consumers if we don’t understand their beliefs, expectations and motivations, and put them before our own, to the best of our ability.

5. What's your favourite brand and why?

As I grow older, the world of watches has almost inevitably become more interesting. (Excuse the cliché). I look at the glamour and technical prowess of different watches and wonder what world to buy in to. And then look down at my desk to a Mondaine clock. I love its Swiss-designed elegance. It takes me back to a time and a place and raises a smile. It remains true to its purpose (telling the time) – something great brands should remember.

6. What's your favourite word?

Shenanigans: “Silly or high-spirited behaviour”. It’s not a word you hear much these days, but you should. We’re all so focused on doing the right thing – a little bit of mischief keeps it all interesting! Plus it’s satisfying to say.