Chatting with Nick Foley

March 04, 2015
Nick Foley sat down with Priyanka Mehra of Exchange4Media for a freewheeling chat about his experience, the ROI of design, and social media best practices.
Nick Foley
President, Southeast Asia, Pacific & Japan,
based in Landor Singapore

How do you apply the client-side learnings to the agency side?

As a client, you want your agency to understand your business so it can develop ideas and initiatives. Anybody can bring in an idea, but it takes a level of understanding and a level of familiarity and partnership to understand what the client really needs. Agencies should work to understand clients’ requirements and their competitors’ strategy. 

The other thing that all agencies bring is objectivity. Working as a client, sometimes no matter what I said to my colleagues, I would not get necessary momentum internally. But if one of my agencies presented an idea with a little authority—whether it was about PR, media or advertising —people would sit up and listen.

What do you think are the factors that contribute to a successful marriage between brand aesthetics and financial impact?

It seems like an unusual relationship. Design is born from creativity, from liberal thinking, which may seem quite disparate from the paradigms that can control finance. Paradoxically, the more financially successful you are, the greater the freedom you have to try new things. One of the most important things in business right now is innovation and you can’t be innovative if you are making low margins and struggling to perform. It’s an unusual link but the more financially successful a business is, the greater the likelihood of breakthrough design.

How does design as a discipline impact ROI?

Why would one pay more for the iPhone 5 than for the Samsung Galaxy 4? Because, in their eyes, there is something more aesthetically pleasing about the iPhone. The more beautiful something looks—as long as it is also delivering everything else—the greater the premium one can charge for that product.

Do you think that brand is gaining more importance in terms of business perspective in India?

Businesses should be more focused on the brand experience than on any single advertising campaign or logo or pure campaign approach. One of my favorite examples for brand experience is airlines. With airlines, from the moment you are in the airport, to when you go through customs, to when you use the lounge, to when you board the plane, you are experiencing the brand. Airlines are supposed to be one of the most homogenous services in the world. So brand experience is increasingly important.

How has social media influenced brand?

Social media has given the consumer a voice. This has helped the consumers say what they want to the brand custodian via social media and brand websites. So marketers have moved from being brand managers to being brand influencers.

What are the social media don’ts for a brand today?

Social media has empowered not only the consumers, but also the small-to-medium enterprises. In one way, social media has brought on a coexistence of all levels of companies and organizations on one platform. But if a company wants to do some sort of a hard sell on social media, people are just going to reject that. I would advise brands to avoid hard selling themselves and their services. This is counterproductive and distances consumers from the brand.


A version of this interview originally appeared on  

Category: Identity & design
Airports should serve as ambassadors to destinations.
Peter Knapp
Global Creative Officer,
based in Landor London

As we pass through the gates of the city to a new destination, what should we expect?

If I were to arrive at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport, would I expect to be met by the smell of Camembert and divine art? If I arrived in Cairo, would there be some connection with the Cradle of Civilisation? Would I hear the cool strains of jazz in New York City’s JFK?

And what if I arrived in London? Would there be a heightened sense of formality, the bustle of one the world’s leading economic hubs, or the avant-garde image of a leading fashion and cultural centre?

Currently what I experience is different from what I anticipate. London’s airports do portray a truth, but frankly it’s a rather crude way of being greeted at the new millennium city gates, and not one that should be associated with a forward-looking, culturally diverse city.

Why shouldn’t an airport be the cultural gateway to the destination for which it is the precursor? Why shouldn’t an airport have the responsibility to be an ambassador for its country, not for its architect?

As you pass through any airport, your impression of your final destination is beginning to form and you can’t help but judge a book by its cover. An airport is bound to create a view, a first impression, no matter how inaccurate it is of the city it calls home.

There are exceptions, thank goodness. For a moment let’s fly to Norway. As you leave the plane you are instantly struck by the serenity of the experience. Yes there is advertising, yes there are shops, but they are all managed under the canopy of “contemporary Scandinavian style.” Warm but robust timber facings are on the check-in and service desks, matching the floor. Monumental concrete columns—like lone pines—form a structure spanned by curvaceous wooden beams. Signage is clear but quiet and well mannered. Shops are subjugated to a firm, unyielding design framework. Does this feel like the gateway to Oslo, to Norway, to Scandinavia? Emphatically and enjoyably, yes! Subtle use of materials showcased within the unique and instantly recognisable sense of Scandinavian design style. A pleasure not a process.

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Image of Oslo Airport used courtesy of Flickr user hirotomo t.

However, please save me from yet another grinding airport machine. Silver grey walkways, cold lighting, exposed air conditioning, reflective surfaces, endless Accenture and HSBC advertising, global coffee, international luxury brands, and generic soulless high tech. A blank, numb shopping centre with planes parked outside like buses…

Let the airport be the first true point of contact with the country of destination. Fascinating, surprising, and soaked in personality. A terminal that talks to you as opposed to processes you. Now that would be a first.

Branding can help create an understandable context for all audiences. Now is the time to use it to make the experience clearer, more relevant, and more valuable.

Before you ask—the best airport in the world? That’s Barra, the one in Scotland where you land on the beach and the scones are made fresh every day by the lady who lives up on the hill.


Image of Barra Airport used courtesy of Flickr user Szczepan Janus.  


Blog post originally appeared on


Category: Destination branding
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Landor staff

In the spirit of the season, Landor hopes you will embrace the Year of the Sheep and share the warm feelings by giving someone a hug.

Category: Digital & social media

Foodies united: Desserts

February 05, 2015
Part three of a series on trends in food and eateries.
Shekha Wilson
based in Landor Dubai

I recently shared the second of a three-part series about some of the treats we are seeing in today’s world of food. You can go back and try the starters or mains—or continue reading for dessert. 

Dining in made easy

Contrary to what one might expect, many restaurants are making it easier for us to stay in. By providing the DIY tools needed to make a dish, the complete ingredients perfectly portioned and packaged, or an idiot-proof recipe for success, restaurants and food shops are helping us hone our cooking skills and confidence in the kitchen.

Cook -a -box

Order a ready-to-cook dinner-in-a-box from Dubai’s Cook-a-Box. 


Browse through Toronto-based Fresh’s cookbooks for healthy inspiration.

Jones The Grocer

Grab all you need to make a gourmet feast at Melbourne’s Jones the Grocer.

Something for everyone

Gone are the days when your vegetarian friend was the only exception at the table. Today it’s not uncommon to meet people with myriad dietary requirements, from pescatarian to flexitarian, locavore, and more, so restaurants and food shops with inclusive menus and customizable options are leading the pack. 


Savour a delicious, locally-produced meal at Ubud’s trendy Locavore.

Aux Vivres

Enjoy a fresh and innovative vegan feast at Montreal’s Aux Vivres.

Coco Yogo

Dubai’s Coco Yogo sells a range of delicious, dairy-free coconut-based products. 

Conscious consumption

No matter where you are in the world, food brings people together. So why not spark a conversation, stir a debate, or communicate an idea—while everyone’s at the table? Passionate restaurateurs are finding ways to generate awareness about food and other topics by featuring ideas and information as the centerpiece of the meal. 

Slow Food Cafe

Try a meal that's aware of its origins at Amsterdam’s Go Slow Café, a project by Droog. (Photo credit: Raphael Brion)

Conflict Kitchen

Participate in a debate over Palestinian falafel at Pittsburgh’s Conflict Kitchen.


Amsterdam’s Instock reduces waste by serving meals made from supermarket leftovers. (Photo credit: Ruben de Ruijter)

Alone together 

Keen to make some new friends, discuss a topic of interest, or try a restaurant you haven’t been to before? Why not get out of your comfort zone and book a seat for one at a sharing table—you may find that being alone together is not lonely at all. 


Airbnb now books travelers a seat at locals’ dinner tables in San Francisco.

Eat With

Eat With invites you to dine in people’s homes all around the world, such as New York-based chef Shuchi. 


Extend your network while trying a new venue through Restronaut, Dubai’s social dining platform.

New formats for old favourites 

There’s nothing like the unexpected, quirky, or novel to get people talking. Our needs are also changing—we’re more time-pressured, looking for convenience at every occasion. Innovators are seizing the opportunity to create fun, yet practical ways to enjoy the foods we love.


Devour gelato, sorbetto, or yogurt on a stick from New York's Popbar, made fresh daily in its Poplab.

Farmers Fridge

Grab a jar of salad at the push of a button from Chicago’s Farmer’s Fridge vending machines.


Amsterdam’s CHCO offers pure indulgence in the form of the “Hotchocspoon” Deluxe.

The world of food is evolving every day, and these are really just a taste of the innovative, interesting, and exciting things we are seeing around the world. There’s so much more to discover—and with this in mind, I hope these three courses have left you hungry for more!


All images used courtesy of their respective authors. Permission being requested.  


Category: Customer experience

Foodies united: Mains

January 27, 2015
Part two of a three-part series on trends in food
Shekha Wilson
based in Landor Dubai

I recently shared the first of a three-part series on some of the interesting and exciting treats that we see in today’s world of food. Click here to sample part one—the starters menu—or continue reading for the main course. 

Fast and good

The equation has changed: fast food no longer equals bad food. Today, people expect fast and good, and more and more restaurants are coming to the party with nutritious ideas and options that don’t take hours to prepare. All around the world “fast slow food” is becoming the order of the day.  


Devour a good-for-you hot breakfast in less than five minutes at New York’s Essen.

6B.Wild Food Cafe

Join the raw food movement at London’s Wild Food Café.


Create your own salad from the bottom up at Richy’s in Dubai.

Tableside theatre

The food world is by no means immune to the effects of the attention economy. Restaurants are upping the spice level by turning eating into an immersive, entertaining, beyond-taste experience. Avoid awkward silences by taking your next date out for dinner with a bit of theatre on the side!

Madame Zingara

Savour a show at Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams in South Africa.

Music Hall

Enjoy a night of musical acts, dancing, drinks, and snacks at Beirut’s Music Hall.


Request a passionately-delivered tequila lesson on your next visit to Dubai’s Maya.

Going nowhere

The advent of food trucks and pop-ups means that dining experiences are becoming more interesting and less formal, more dynamic and less expected, more seasonal and less complex. Look out for the latest meal on wheels or rotating snack bar and catch it while you can! 

Burger De Ville

Grab a simple yet scrumptious burger and fries on-the-go at Berlin’s Burger de Ville.

Rice Paper Scissors

San Fransisco’s Rice Paper Scissors offers a rotating menu of Vietnamese favourites.


Stay on the look out for Salt, Dubai’s pioneering food truck concept.

Liquid lovin’

Vegetables are no longer confined to salads, soups, and sides—today they’re frequently served raw and chilled in a glass. Whether you’re up for a hard-core juice fast or just a supplementary juice feast, you’re quite likely find a juice bar near you. 

Detox Delight

Globally spread Detox Delight offers a range of pressed-to-perfection juices.

Juice Press

Sip a fresh, organic, never processed veggie juice at New York’s Juice Press.


If you're in Norway or the United Arab Emirates, try one of Essentially’s cleanse programs for a healthy glow.

Something to talk about

Wondering where to go tonight? See what your friends think on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Through mouth-watering images and delicious words, people are switched on to what their friends are posting, and successful food joints are giving them something to talk about.


Experience having a drink through a drip while on a wheelchair at Singapore's Clinic.

Nocti Vegas

Discover the power of your senses at Berlin’s first dark restaurant Nocti Vagus.

Dinner In The SkyAdd Dinner in the sky to your bucket list, wherever you are in the world.

Let’s pause for a minute, grab a drink if you need to—but what ever you do, save room for dessert!


Images used courtesy of their respective authors. Permission being requested. 

Category: Customer experience
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