Early Days

So, where did it all begin?

Hands On Brands was founded in 2004 by Cyrus Johnston after a decade of working on the agency-side of brand building.

Prior to that, in 1999, Cyrus headed up a global drinks Client repositioning and relaunching its brand. The work was great, the assets and materials were top notch and it was all cascaded into markets as planned. All that remained was for the plaudits and headlines to roll in.

They didn’t. Well, not initially. You see, not everyone ‘got’ it at first.

Specifically, the market sales teams struggled to grasp the new direction. This led to a lack of confidence when it came to selling a new brand story to new consumers via new customers. Scary stuff.

The response was no half measure. The rollout of an 18 month Global Workshop Programme, immersing the sales teams of 16 different countries in the why, what and how. It was challenging, it was exhausting, it was fun and, crucially, it worked.

Each and every 3 day workshop saw a palpable audience shift from cynicism to evangelism, setting the brand up to achieve great things.

Seeing this impact was a defining moment for Cyrus. He left agency life in 2004 to set up Hands On Brands, inspired by the impact a good story via a great workshop could have on brand colleagues.

In the time since, Hands On has worked for a range of Clients large and small in spirits, pharmaceuticals, tyres, travel, beer, education, recruitment and e-cigs.

To date, it has delivered 500+ workshops in over 35 different countries for 6 to 160 people. Each with a specific design, each for a specific audience, each with specific support activities to help underpin sustainable results.

Client brands have included Chivas Regal, Mumm, Martell, Wyborowa, blu, Hendricks, Glenfiddich, Guinness, Pilsner Urquell, Pepsi, Imperial Brands, Travelport, Carlsberg, Skill Capital, Michelin, Bushmills and Baileys.

Most of the work has been direct, some of it via agencies and consultancies. Because they sometimes need help too, landing their great work with Client audiences. Roughly two decades on, we still love shifting cynicism to evangelism and setting great work up to achieve greater things.

Drop us a line to learn more or have a chat.

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