Robert Jones

Robert Jones

Professor, Professor

  • 0.16 Thomas Paine Study Centre

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Biography

I have two interconnected lives: I'm a brand strategist in London, and professor of brand leadership here at UEA.

I started my working life as a research fellow at Cambridge, before joining a Cambridge start-up company, Baddeley Associates, which specialised in communicating the complexities of computers to ordinary people.

I found my métier in 1993 when I joined Wolff Olins, one of the world's top branding consultancies. At Wolff Olins, I helped over 70 organisations, in the UK and globally, to build their brands – including Aviva, Barclays, Camelot, Historic Royal Palaces, Oxfam, PwC, National Trust, Tate, Tesco, Virgin And Wikipedia.

I joined Norwich Business School in 2008, where I set up the world’s only MSc in brand leadership. Over 90% of our graduates go on to get jobs in branding, from Alibaba to Virgin, Google to L’Oréal, Interbrand to FITCH.

In 2020 I set up as an independent brand consultant. My clients include Art Fund, Telia and The Urgent Company.

These ten years have been the most rewarding years of my career. My client work constantly feeds into my teaching – and my teaching constantly sharpens my client work.

External Activities

  • I'm on the editorial board of the Journal of Brand Management.

    Alongside my UEA teaching, I’ve given classes at the London School of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Northwestern University, and many more.

Key Research Interests and Expertise

My research has been highly practical – the 70 or so client projects I’ve run. With my clients, I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t, as we’ve set out to make lasting change happen in the complex, ever-shifting and highly political world of large organisations – from Aviva and Barclays to Tesco and Virgin.

Through the last ten years, I’ve been constantly fascinated by the way branding is (and isn’t) changing. At Wolff Olins, I led five research projects to uncover the ways that brand practice, consumer behaviour and leadership styles have changed. In 2012, I explored this topic more broadly by editing a special issue of the Journal of Brand Management, and this has become one of the journal’s most cited editions.

Key Responsibilities

I'm professional course leader for the MSc Brand Leadership programme, working alongside Nick Yip.

I also advise the university on its own brand. I led a Wolff Olins team who updated the UEA brand in 2013-2014. We helped UEA build a bolder, more confident brand using its ‘unconventionally brilliant’ research work – a brand to get UEA even closer to the top ten of British universities.

Specialisms

Brands and branding.

Teaching Interests

I teach two modules on the MSc Brand Leadership programme. ‘Brand now' gives students an up-to-the-minute overview of brand practice, and ‘Brands in action' takes them through a team project with real clients tackling a real brand issue. Both modules draw heavily on my professional experience, which I've codified into a set of practice-based theoretical models.

Each summer, I teach my ‘Brand now’ module as an option for our MBA students, and I enjoy showing them how central brand now is in business thinking. I also contribute a class each year to the undergraduate marketing programme.

I helped UEA get into digital teaching, by creating its first MOOC (massive open online course), using the FutureLearn platform. The course, The Secret Power of Brands, has now reached 100,000 learners, giving UEA an unprecedented presence in the world. Using that experience, I’ve now put all the content for my two MSc modules online, freeing up classroom time for project work. This ‘flipped classroom’ approach helps students to assimilate my content, and to take part confidently in classroom discussions.

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 1983