Professor John M.T. Balmer (Professor of Corporate Marketing, Brunel University London) has written what is arguably the definitive biography of Wally Olins CBE, doyen of the corporate brand/identity consultancy industry, for the authoritative Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Drawing on Professor Balmer’s discussions with Wally Olins dating back to the 1980s, and supplemented by archival and secondary sources, the biography details Olins’ family background; education; early career; his establishment – with Michael Wolff – of the world-famous Wolff Olins corporate identity/brand consultancy; provides an overview of his a consultancy work/published output/ and intellectual contributions; and reflects on his persona and style; and honours and distinctions.
Edited by the eminent historian, Professor Sir David Cannadine, and published by Oxford University Press, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is, arguably, the most authoritative source of key figures in British life from the Romans to the 21st century.
Professor Balmer notes: “It is a particular honour to be invited to write this biography. I first interviewed Wally Olins whist studying for my MBA at Durham University Business School in 1988 and we remained in contact over the last four decades. His reflections on corporate identity exerted a profound impact on my initial thinking on the corporate identity field.”
Professor Balmer was appointed to a personal chair in corporate identity at Bradford University in 1999; was subsequently appointed to the chair in corporate branding at the same institution, and, in 2007 was appointed as Professor of Corporate Marketing at Brunel University: all are understood to be the first appoinments of their kind.