david hieatt

How to build a great brand with very little money. Sept 12th. London


'How To Build A Great Brand With Very Little Money'.

Sept 15th. London. £300.

There has never been a better time to start a brand. There has never been a cheaper time, either. But when everyone has the same free tools as you, how do you stand out? The answer is simple enough:  By learning how to use those tools with greater skill than anyone else. This workshop will give you some key insights into this.

How do you beat Goliath?  It won’t be by out-spending them. But it will be by out-thinking them. It will also come from understanding what you are going to change. Understanding your purpose and how to make that mean as much to your customer as it does to you. This workshop will give you some key insights into this, too.

I am not a theorist. I have built brands from nothing with next to nothing just by understanding a few key basic rules. I shares these insights with you on my course: 'How To Build A Brand With Very Little Money. 

What Will You Learn?

How to tell your story. 
How to give your brand a voice. 
How to get people to love your brand. 
The importance of 1000 true fans. 
The real advantages of being small. 
Is your idea going to change anything. 
How to put a moat around your idea. 
How to identify a niche before others. 
The importance of being first. 
How to fund it without losing control. 
How to build a great team without employing anyone.

More Info:




Ever been to a great restaurant where the waiter was just plain not interested? Ever been in a famous shop when the sales person chatted to their mates on the phone for your entire time in the shop? Ever been to a 5-star hotel and the service was darned awful? It doesn’t matter who you are, if you hire people who don’t care, they will do their very best to reveal it to your customers.

And all that work you have put in gets crushed. So when you hire, ask yourself this: Are they passionate about what you are about? Are they a good fit with your brand and its principles? When you walk in through the door at Abercrombie and Fitch, it soon becomes very clear what is on brand for them.

Good News: Average Dies Faster Than Ever Before.


We live in a very busy world. We have the same amount of time as before, but there are so many more things competing for our attention. What gets it? The things that stand out. Average sinks to the bottom. Fast.

Average viral films don’t get shared. Average Instagrams don’t get liked. Boring tweets don’t get re-tweeted. Social media takes no prisoners. It’s binary. You either have our attention. Or not. It’s ruthless in sorting out the good from the bad.

The good thing is this: Excellent costs no more than average. In fact, you can argue that average costs more than excellent. All the money and effort to make something that no one is going to see is a dumb waste of money. The answer is to spend more time on being creative. It will pay you back in spades. 

It's your story. Tell it well.


"The Hiut Denim Co was started to get the town making jeans again."

A brand is a story. And you have to tell it well. The good news in this connected world is great stories travel fast. And, these days, they travel for free. So there has never been a better time or a cheaper time to start something. Big companies no longer have a huge advantage. Your website can make you look as big as them. Your Instagrams can make you funnier than them, your Tweets can make you look more human than them.

The tools at your disposal are very powerful, and very free. Tools like: Medium (free), Stumble Upon (free), Instagram (free), Twitter (free). Digital cameras, they get cheaper with each season.

Your ability to make a great unique product will need to be matched by your ability to tell your story. Don’t take a quick picture, take a considered one, don’t write an OK blog, spend days writing a great one, don’t make a film that is good when a great one just takes a little more sweat.

Do the work.Tell your story well. 

Your job is to make them feel something for the change you are making.

Emotion is powerful thing. Mostly becuase companies are scared of using it. They rely on facts, facts rarely make us feel something. They make sense, but not change.

The best brands not only change something, they also have a great innate ability to communicate their purpose well, so it matters to their customers.

You have to make your customers feel something for the change you are making, or you will change very little. Understand what is in their hearts. Logic is a blunt tool in this regard. It makes perfect sense, it ticks all the boxes, but it changes very little. And guess what, intelligence is no better; it is overrated in its ability to either change things or behaviour. I think one of the best ways to leave your customers inspired, stirred, awoken, is to use emotion. Make them feel something.

Bare your soul. Tell your struggle. Tell your pain. Tell your lows. Be vulnerable. Be honest. Tell them how the world could be.

But most of all, be you. Open your heart. Most people just use their brain.

Excerpt from my new book: Do Purpose. Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more.  

More info on My Do Build a Great Brand for very little money Workshop in London in Sept:  

Is your brand 3D?

Dark Wader


How many senses does your brand use?

A brand should appeal to all your senses. But most brands only appeal to sight and sound. They leave touch, smell and taste alone. And yet they can be very powerful. Abercrombie and Fitch spray each catalogue with their perfume: it acts as a reminder when you walk into the stores. Jawbone, the portable speakers, sound like a futuristic space ship taking off when you switch one on. If you want convincing that they are state of the art technology, just turn it on. It is quite something.

The chef Ferran Aria believes that taste is not the only sense to appeal to, which is interesting. Touch can be played with through various temperatures, as can smell and sight. To him the senses become one of the main points of reference in the creative process.

It isn’t just coffee shops that can tap the power of the sense of smell. It isn’t just chefs who can tap the power of the sense of taste. And it isn’t just clothing companies who can tap into the power of the sense of touch. Is your brand using all our senses?

Excerpt from my new book: Do Purpose. Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more.  

More info on My Do Build a Great Brand for very little money Workshop in London in Sept:  


"Create the space so the magic can happen" - Why Do USA is so special.


If The Polo mint didn’t have a hole, it wouldn’t be the same.

Of course, you would have around 25% more mint.

But the magic would have gone.

The Polo would no longer be The Polo.

It’s often the case of what you don’t do, don’t have, don’t say, ends up defining you.

Take The Do USA as another example. It’s special because of the bit in the middle.

Of course, the talks are inspiring.

And yes, the attendees are the most progressive and driven people you could ever wish to meet.

But those things alone don’t explain the magic.

The bit in the middle is the morning run when you see a coyote. It’s the food that was in the ground when you woke up, it’s the music from an un-signed band, it’s being so far from everywhere, it’s the smell of campfire smoke on your clothes, it's the iconic location, it's, well, all of it.

You see, most talks, most conferences do a great job of inspiring you, and then you have a cup of tea or a beer and off you go on your way home.

But ideas need conversation, they need debate, they need challenging, they need people with different viewpoints, they need airplay. But what ideas need most is time and the space for them to germinate.

In short, staying for the 3 days, and the 3 nights is the magic.

It's the hole in the Polo.

For more info on Do USA



Find your voice.

Cerdo fotografo


Your voice can be many things. It is much more than how you speak in your ads.

A quick story to make the point:

I sat down for a coffee with Richard, one of the founders of innocent, and he told me his taxi story. He was taking a ride back to work I think. Anyway, as all taxi drivers do, he wanted to make conversation. His went along normal lines. What do you do, mate? Richard replied, I help run a smoothie company. Oh yeah, which one? Innocent. Nice company. But it’s not the same any more. Richard was a bit taken aback. How do you mean? Well, you changed the label. It’s glossy now and the other one was matt. So it doesn’t feel as real any more, you know as authentic. Richard thanked him once he was dropped off. And he went inside work and the first thing he did was change the label back from glossy to matt.

The taxi driver had just taught him the importance of the bigness of small. How those little things that we don’t think are that important have a huge impact. If you want to build something big, do all the small things right. 

Excerpt from my new book: Do Purpose. Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more.  


 10 Tips to Finding your Voice

1, Be Clear

Define the purpose of your company. Do this alone. Do not consult anyone but yourself. One sentence should do it. Write it on a paper napkin and pin it to the wall. Once decided upon, you cannot change it. Make sure that you are excited by it. Make sure you are willing to spend the rest of your life working towards it. Make sure it is your real purpose and not just what other people want to hear. Make sure it lives in your head and, as importantly, in your heart.

2, Be Focused

Define your product and it’s purpose. And stick to it. Stop making product that is not consistent with your definition of where you sit in this world. Even if it makes money, stop making it. Do not dilute the company focus. There is more money to be made from being focused than from trying to be everything to everybody. Narrow the focus. Google achieved more by offering less than its competitor. Rather than closing down opportunities, going narrower opens them up. Those who spend their days trying to be all things to all people rarely have time to change the world.

3, Be yourself

Don’t try to be like others. Don’t follow or mimic. Don’t pretend. You can tell when someone doesn’t mean something just by how they say it.  A voice doesn’t come from a meeting or a committee. Or from the latest trend or for that matter the latest piece of research. It comes from one man. It comes from the books he has read. The conversations he has had, the experiences he has endured, and the family he has been raised by. There is no manual to read. The voice is fragile in the wrong hands. Be careful whom you give the task to. The strength of Nike was that Dan Wieden got inside the head of Phil Knight. He understood that he was a super competitive sports nut who wanted to crush the competition. And he kept relaying that to his customers. Year after year. Come rain. Come shine.

4, Be emotional

You have to make your customers feel something. Understand what is in their hearts. Logic is a blunt tool in this regard, my friend. It makes perfect sense, it ticks all the boxes, but it changes very little. And guess what, intelligence is no better; it is overrated in its ability to either change things or behaviour. You need a different set of tools. Those tools will comprise of music, pictures, words that when shaken up by your author and put back in the right order will leave your customers inspired, stirred, awoken. Oh, by the way, this is not easy to do. Give them meaning by all means, but don’t give them ads. Bare your soul. Tell your struggle. Tell your pain. Tell your lows. A corporation finds it hard to show its soul as it rarely has one. Be vulnerable. Be honest. But most of all, be you.

5, Be instinctive.

Research nothing. Listen to what you feel. If you are in doubt, ask your wife. If you are still in doubt, ask your kids. Go no further than the circle that you trust. Ever.

6, Be Useful.

Make products for a purpose. Be useful. Make products that chase a function and not a fashion. Invent for a need. Focus on your customers needs. Small needs can become big business. If you suddenly become fashionable, it is because you have chased being useful. Don’t build your business around being fashionable; it will go away as quickly as it came. Customers can decode real from fake in a blink of an eye. If you try to be of a moment, you will die in the moment, once it has had its time. Instead, carry on making products that have a use. Be authentic. If you can say that, you are on solid ground. Don’t get sidetracked by chasing fashion.

7, Be the change.

To support your purpose, you need more than just words. You have to change your industry; you have to show another way. And you have to communicate that change in the most inspiring way that a human can imagine. Look at how well Apple communicates change. Every revolution needs an enemy. Challenge design, challenge pollution, challenge landfill, challenge peoples ‘buy and throw culture’. Now that you can make anything, what does your company want to make? And, even more than that, what does it want to change?

8, Be consistent

A worthwhile business has to be built over time. A company’s product, its purpose and how it speaks to the world needs to be consistent if it wants to be all things that it hopes to be. Do not blow with the wind. Do not chase a bandwagon. Stay true. Patience is required in a world that doesn’t always understand the value of it. It is easy to make small little changes in a busy day and think they do not matter. But there is a big-ness to small decisions. The financial world fully understands the concept of compound interest and how a small change can make a big difference. Similarly, a small tweak here, a small compromise there, can accumulate over time to change the very soul of a business. The rule of consistent product and service is easy to get. But the same rule needs to be applied to a company’s voice. Nike has talked with the same voice for a couple of decades now. A signature seems to run through it. And because it is so consistent, each communication seems to build on top of the last one. They have gained compound interest of voice thanks to their consistency of voice.

9, Be relevant

Understand your customer. And make product that is relevant to their lives. Remember, the worse thing you can do for the environment is to make something that no one wants to buy. Speak to them in a way that connects with them and makes them feel something. The trick to this is give something of yourself. If you feel something, the chances are so will they. This is not rocket science. It’s just gut instinct. Its knowing what they are into because you are into it too.

10, Be Positive

If you want change to happen, you will have to inspire people. A fire needs wood to burn. It also needs a flame to start it. You need to be the flame. A business needs to do the numbers but it also needs a purpose to supply it the passion. If we listened to just our intellect, no one would fall in love. If we did not listen to our soul, no poetry would ever be written. To stir someone, you have find emotional ways to touch them. But first you have open up and let go of the worry about talking in more emotional terms. Only then will you start to connect with people. You have to stir yourself to stir others. Then you have to find the flame that inspires them. And be positive. Be the hope. Hope is more powerful. The cynic changes little or nothing. The optimist can and will. Spread wonder. Spread optimism. It’s good stuff.

More info on My Do Build a Great Brand for very little money Workshop in London in Sept: 



A thank you letter to Naim Audio.

Gutarra bajo

Dear the good people of Naim,

Each day a battle takes place. The battle is between ‘Excellence’ and ‘Average’.  Average has a huge army. Excellence has only a few.

By rights, 'Average' should always win. Mediocrity should prevail. But ‘Excellence’ is fighting for a bigger fight than just for itself. It is fighting on behalf of beauty, on behalf of perfection, on behalf of 'How things could be'.

So against all the odds, 'Excellence' wins more battles than it loses. Don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t win all the time. 'Average' has a huge following. In fact, the vast majority of people settle for it, each and every day.

The few who fight in the name of ‘Excellence’ are fighting to inform the majority. Naim are not just fighting for the right to stay in business. They are fighting on behalf of music, and what it could and should sound like. From where I sit, it’s important work.

So I want to thank you Naim for fighting that good fight on a daily basis. I also want to say thank you for lending us your precision equipment. People left The Do Farm knowing what 'Excellence' sounds like.

The great thing is once you have been introduced to "Excellence', going back to 'Average' is one of the most miserable fucking journey’s you can ever make.

May that always be the case.






Reputations take decades to make. And minutes to lose.

Dark Wader

The first clothing company I started had made a reputation for making excellent merino base layers. The margin wasn’t the best, but we never had to go to sale. We couldn’t get enough of it. But a buyer had seen the margin – and wanted to improve it.

The first clothing company I started had made a reputation for making excellent merino base layers. The margin wasn’t the best, but we never had to go to sale. We couldn’t get enough of it. But a buyer had seen the margin – and wanted to improve it.

Their way of improving it was to buy an inferior quality grade of merino. It was, of course, a better margin. We all tried it. And it was simply not good enough. The merino became saggy after just one wash. As soon as I saw this, I stopped it. But the buyer couldn’t understand it. The buyer even tried to bypass me in order to purchase behind my back. I stopped that too.

For me, there is no point achieving a great margin once, only to lose that customer after one wash. Your brand reputation should never be compromised for a short-term gain.

Excerpt from my new book: Do Purpose. Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more.  

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently. Warren Buffett.



The Only Thing That Matters is Everything. A story about detail.

Fuego 3

This is a story I was told about Ralph Lauren. It may, or may not, be true.

Anyway, the story goes like this. He spent millions building his ranch. Every detail considered. The builders and the architects had a tough old time of it. It was redone a couple

of times. After it was finally finished, they were super happy. But, for Ralph, something was missing. Something wasn’t quite right. The builders had to come back because the door was too perfect. It didn’t squeak. And everyone knows old ranches always have a squeaky door. So they had to put one in.

Imagine how much detail is considered for his clothes.

A brand is about consistency. Each detail paid attention to. Because consistency builds trust. And trust builds a business. And, as the founder, it is your job to be the guardian of these details. What matters? Only everything. 

Excerpt from my new book: Do Purpose. Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more.   

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