Meeting my mentor – Saifhon Punnaboot Hanchalay of MSc Brand Leadership

After finishing my coursework for an MSc Brand Leadership course in the 1st semester, I still had a fantastic experience with the course. It was a beautiful Wednesday that I was heading to meet my mentor for the first time at ‘Good Agency’ in London. I was very excited!

Saifhon (right) on a recent visit to FITCH
Saifhon (right) on a recent visit to FITCH

After following and wandering around Southwark tube station for a while, I finally reached to ‘Good Agency’. Dan Dufour, who is an ‘associate director brand’, is my mentor. He introduces me to his colleagues ‘Reuben’ who is a creative director and ‘Sara’ who also graduated from MSc Brand Leadership. We started our conversation by his asking why I chose to study in this course. And my answer is ‘I believe that Brand has a power to influence people to do force for good’. He looked surprised and told me that it is a pleasant match that we are mentor and mentoree. Since the ‘Good Agency’ has a similar purpose, they ‘harness the power of emotions, values and culture to unleash the good in people’ (GoodAgency, 2014).

He showed me around the agency and provided me some ideas how brand agency truly works. Ranging from accounting executive team to project manager, brand strategist and brand creative team, they all will help each other run the project for their clients. Before I met Dan I had visited other brand agencies such as Wolff Olins, Fitch, Brand Learning and Flamingo. I can see that every brand agency performs different working style with their clients. They all have their model. Some focus on ‘New way of thinking and/or design’. Others concentrate on ‘Clients’ desires or Research’.

Brand Leaders, class of 2014-15, on a visit to Southwold to learn about Adnams, the beer from the coast
Brand Leaders, class of 2014-15, on a visit to Southwold to learn about Adnams, the beer from the coast

One of the foremost impressions of me during this meeting is I can see the linkage between the lesson in my course and real-life work. I asked Dan about some of his works and a few examples of how he thinks once his clients employed him. Basically, when you want to form a brand, you need to know that what your brand is standing for. Some academic people use the word as ‘purpose, personality and a proposition’. Others use ‘vision, mission and values’. Dan told me that it was necessary to ensure that you and your clients understand in the same way. Typically, the words are modified, but the meaning and the method of working through the process are similar. I learn that even brand agency itself, it has to adapt their work to suit their client. Despite using some different words, but they have the same goal.

Another impression is an opportunity to sit-in a small brainstorm for their ‘Marathon’ project. I’ve learned the way they brainstorm for their real client. They link some different points of view and the values of the brand together. Then they create several new grabbing ideas which Sara, an alumnus from Brand Leadership, also facilitates me to generate some ideas in this brainstorm. Moreover, a little chat with Reuben is additionally inspiring me to work in a place that congruences with your purpose of life. He told me that some individual work without knowing why do they work and spend eight to ten hours doing the work they hate. This reaffirms my belief that people could balance to work for good and gain money for life.

These are some parts of my extra impressions from studying in MSc Brand Leadership course. I can’t wait to see what will happen in my next meeting and my semester!


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