Can you give us a brief history of your career to date?
I was a fashion academic for many years until going freelance and writing books – my first was Good Hair Days: A History of British Hairstyling in 1999 and my latest Grown-Up Glamour came out in 2010. I have worked with Mark Hayes, International Creative Director at Sassoon helping research the inspirations for the seasonal collections since the mid 1990s. I also appear on tv and radio and lecture all over the world discussing fashion and beauty trends and their meanings.
Do you have a typical day you could talk us through?
I wake up at 6.00, read till 7.00, wake my son Lionel up and help him get ready for school and then it could be a meeting a Sassoon to discuss the latest collection with Mark, a lecture on fashion or a radio interview on a new fashion exhibition or directional trend or it could be a day in front of the computer writing interspersed with boring domestic tasks! I read at every opportunity and usually have a least three books I’m enthralled by at any one time.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just finished two books – one a style guide for the older woman called Grown-Up Glamour following on from the success of How To Be Adored which has come out in most countries including China, USA, Serbia, Denmark – and another on Vintage Jewellery. The new Sassoon Academy Collection is always a pre-occupation as we shoot it three times a year.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Anywhere and everywhere! Galleries, museums, second-hand bookshops, charity shops, the street – I love walking around foreign cities on my own and go off the beaten track looking for hidden gems. I also live a lot inside my own head and have done since a child with my own little obsessions and pre-occupations! At the moment it’s a writer called Margery Sharp who was very popular in the post-war period. One book of hers is all about the chequered lovelife of a 1960s dog photographer – bliss!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
It’s OK to be different, its cool to be clever and don’t be ashamed of your enthusiasms.
What advice would you pass on to people today?
Read, read, read – you don’t know what you’re missing out on. You may have been bored to tears with history at school but give me an hour of your time in the V&A Museum and I will show you how magical and relevant the past is.
Where might people bump into you?
- The V & A Costume Court
- Rubino, Valetta
- Legal Seafoods, Boston
- Chez Omar, Paris
- Coopers Beach, Far North
- The Guggenheim in New York and Bilbao
- Any bar with a closed door full of locals who swivel round and look at you in Antwerp
- The Victor Horta Museum in Brussels
- George’s in Belper
- Lille fleamarket on the first weekend of September
- Walmer Castle
Martin Franklin is a proven brand builder with thirteen years of global marketing experience at Procter & Gamble.
His passion has been delivering challenging brand turnarounds, first for the Pampers brand in South Africa and subsequently for the rejuvenation of legendary professional hair brand Sassoon.
Martin is an expert brand strategist believing strongly that every brand should have real character, a clearly articulated equity and should embrace good design.
Have you always had a passion for brands?
I’ve always been drawn to dynamic, image-driven brands and in my formative years in South Africa those were Coca-Cola – the ‘Coke Is It’ campaign was hugely aspirational to me. And Sun City – the Vegas-style resort in the African bush where a world of unimaginable glamour and luxury had been created from Sol Kerzner’s imagination – a totally immersive experience the likes of which I’d never seen before. I still find hotels fantastically interesting from a brand, design and experiential point of view – because they’re one of the few immersive, captive worlds where the potential to create a completely unique multi-sensorial experience allows a brand to come to life.
Is there a brand that has continued to impress you since childhood?
A brand experience that’s stayed with me ever since was my first trip to Disney World in Florida aged 17 on rowing tour. We were a few miles away from ‘the magic’ when the paving edges suddenly became neater, the road was more carefully paved, and then the street signs changed from standard Florida issue to these pink and purple confections with Mickey Mouse ears on the top – and this was still miles away from the actual resort. I was enthralled as I realised I was stepping into a world where everything had been considered when creating the Disney experience. And it didn’t disappoint. Even though Disney has been through ups and downs over the past twenty years they very much know who they are and are remain true to their character.
What’s your career to date?
P&G and Unilever both offered me jobs on completing my Business Science Marketing Honours degree at the University of Cape Town, and it was a tough choice – what swayed my decision in P&G’s favour was the Johannesburg location and the fact that it was the underdog upstart in South Africa which seemed more exciting – they also promised global travel opportunities. Pampers was my second P&G assignment and I realised both the beauty of working with mothers and babies at those early stages and the impact a distinctive character can have on business results. We made a new ‘overnight’ commercial – educating mothers about the value of using Pampers at night for uninterrupted baby’s sleep – and Siza, the mother we cast in the commercial, made the unscripted move of kissing her little Simpiwe’s bum after removing his nappy in the morning, and saying ‘I LOVE it!’ Nothing could have said more than what we wanted to say with that commercial than that off-hand flourish. The business grew phenomenally – and won an Advertising Effectiveness award in London.
Sassoon was my big project at P&G – figuring out what to do with a declining retail brand with unmatched professional credentials in their Salons and Academies. Unusually at P&G it was a long assignment that allowed me involvement in both the Clairol and Wella acquisitions, and the opportunity to work with an amazing group of creatives – the Sassoon International Creative Team. Together we developed a colour, care and finish line and business programme that put the product brand back where it deserved to be – close to the Salons and Schools brand, and then launched it into some of the most prestigious salons around Western Europe. It was important for P&G and Sassoon to jointly agree on what we stood for as a brand, and the process of developing the brand equity together has helped to galvanise our vision and mission in a way that celebrates close on 60 years of hair industry leadership but is nonetheless modern and relevant to today’s consumers.
Where do you look for inspiration?
After an almost 4 year assignment in Geneva, I’m back living in London with my partner in Stockwell, and I love London. I love the richness of character – the amazing history of every street, every area, so many stores, brands, customs – not only is there so much new going on that you can barely get your head around, but it’s also all built on a past that is so exciting and inspirational. It’s the ultimate expression of a great heritage brand because its past helps it to embrace the future, gives it direction, colour and character. If you haven’t yet, I can recommend reading Peter Ackroyd’s wonderful biography of London.
What are some of your favourite places?
- A cold New York City for Thanksgiving
- Waking up on a boat.
- Arriving in a big Asian city for the first time
- Around a pool with friends in the Johannesburg sun
- The 5am wake-up call on Safari
- Robberg Beach at sunrise
- Sunday brunch at the Sukothai Bangkok
- Friday night at our local Canton Arms in Stockwell
- 4pm on Elia Beach
- Saturday morning in an unexplored European capital
- A 7-11 in Tokyo
- Sunset on the top of Lion’s Head
Her expertise is in taking stories and retelling them via fresh visual narrative that can be harnessed across multiple media.
Understanding consumers’ appetite for convergence, Maggie is an inspiring producer whose documentary films have been part of prestigious exhibitions and gallery spaces.Close
What’s your career to date?
A mix of radio, TV, media entertainment. I moved into working with industry and education after winning a prize – the TIME LIFE Award for the Set Book Series on Capital Radio, where I worked as a presenter on the entertainment programme Hullaballoo. I produced Posers – a film documenting the New Romantics on the Kings Road – and survived Breakfast TV working with Roland Rat and Timmy Mallett. Today finds me ferreting away as a creative director lecturing in broadcast journalism at the University of the Arts London. I have recently produced documentaries with Martin Parr photographer, Robin and Lucienne Day pioneers of modern design, and the Missoni family. My work with lifestyle students at the London College of Fashion also involves me in trend-forecasting.
Where might we find you?
In a nearby Deli.
What are your ‘no miss’ magazines and blogs?
- LSN.Global – the coolest trend forecasting tool
- TimeOut – how things were before Tweet.
- Monocle – stylish and globally informative
- BBCNews on iPhone – can’t be bettered.
- W and W Online – stylish and interesting art direction and features.
- Radio 4 interspersed with Vanessa Feltz – reminds me why words sound so good when used with wit and wisdom.
- Peep Show – smart and savvy, targeted so well, makes me giggle every time.
What, for you, would be an exciting day?
Breathing in the Bloomsbury vibes (bit of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell) at Charleston Sussex or Tate Britain. Snooping through stalls at any of my favourite vintage markets. Tea at Paul. Stand-up comedy at the Kings Head Crouch End. And a movie at the Phoenix East Finchley or Screen on the Green Hampstead. Flying off to New York to walk the streets, enjoy the Art Deco architecture, take-in an exhibition at MOMA and eat pickles.
Favourite summer bolthole?
Antibes on the Cote d’Azur, looking down through the lemon groves at the top of Capri or the little unknown spots behind Sorrento. Even Brighton in the early morning walking along the pier.
What’s the best exhibition you’ve ever been to?
I queued for 7 hours in Vienna to see Klimt’s wonderful female models in their original frames when I was 5 months pregnant. It was worth it.
Understanding the past and its impact on the present has made Caroline Cox a much sought after voice in contemporary publishing and broadcasting.Read on...
Martin Franklin is a proven brand builder with thirteen years of global marketing experience at Procter & Gamble.Read on...
Currently Director of Media at the London College of Fashion. Maggie has a wide-ranging career in broadcast journalism and production with media output.Read on...