The Invisible Grail: How brands can tell better stories
In his influential book, We, Me, Them & It, John Simmons changed the way many people think about writing for business. In this book, he looks at how language, words and storytelling can create and build strong brands. The Invisible Grail takes its readers on a journey that looks at some of the world’s biggest brands (such as Guinness and Unilever) and examines how they have used language to engage their audiences. Moreover, Simmons looks at the smaller emerging brands (such as Innocent and Lush) and their incredible success in connecting with their customers. This search for the “grail”, to unlock the hidden creative resources within every successful brand’s story, is the basic aim of this book. It succeeds not only in practical terms (providing the reader with valuable lessons in branding) but also in inspirational terms (providing the reader with new insights and ideas for approaching marketing).
“John Simmons’ brilliant books have lent a new dimension and great depth to the topic of brand tone of voice. His understanding of the subject is immense and matched by his willingness to share it.”
Kartik Kompella, Editor The Definitive Book of Branding
John Simmons is an independent writer and consultant. He was a director of Newell and Sorrell from 1984 until the merger with Interbrand in 1997. He headed many large brand programmes with companies as diverse as Waterstone’s, Royal Mail, Air Products and the National Theatre. He established Interbrand’s verbal identity team before he left in 2003. His current clients include Allied Irish Banks, Anthony Gold Solicitors and Marks & Spencer.
John runs “Writing for design” workshops for D&AD and the School of Life. He also runs “Dark Angels” workshops, residential courses in remote retreats, which aim to promote more creative writing for business www.dark-angels.org.uk. He has written a number of books on the relationship between language and identity, including “The Dark Angels Trilogy” – We, me, them & it, The invisible grail and Dark angels. His books helped establish the practice of tone of voice as a vital element of branding.
He’s a founder director of 26, the not-for-profit group that champions the cause of better language in business, and has been writer-in-residence for Unilever and King’s Cross tube station. In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Falmouth in recognition of ‘outstanding contribution to the creative sector’.
His most recent books are 26 ways of looking at a blackberry, about the creative power of constraints, and Room 121: a masterclass in business writing, co-written with Jamie Jauncey as an exchange over 52 weeks. In June 2011 John’s first work of fiction, The angel of the stories, was published by Dark Angels Press, with illustrations by the artist Anita Klein.
He recently initiated and participated in the writing of a Dark Angels collective novel Keeping Mum with fifteen writers – the novel was published by Unbound in 2014. John is on the Campaign Council for Writers’ Centre Norwich as Norwich becomes the first English City of Literature.