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What’s the role of a brand? To tell a story about why you sell the products you sell, yes. To give you an identity that sets you apart in the market, yes. To act as a compass to navigate times of uncertainty, most definitely yes.


We’re currently living through a cost of living crisis, a climate emergency and an ongoing war which means many are feeling unsure.  Businesses are feeling the pressure too. But they also have the opportunity to use brand as a beacon of hope and a force for good.


John Lewis for example, repositioned this year and took its new tagline, ‘For All Life’s Moments’ seriously, committing to a £99 million half-year loss to ease the pressures of the cost of living crisis for both customers and staff. The brand took a good look around at the landscape and made a move that responded to people’s needs.


We’re not saying a loss of millions or a repositioning is necessary for everyone. But if you’ve got a well-built brand – one that’s centred around a unifying, ultimately positive belief – you can give your team and your customers something to rally around. You’ve got the power to effect real, meaningful change. And it’ll be one that can work across different cultural and economic moments.


Back in 2020 we helped Cath Kidston team build a brand about inspiring the everyday optimist. It’s an idea that not only speaks to the joy that Cath Kidston’s products bring, but it pulls out the optimism from the team and its customers. And it’s also an idea that can be recontextualised to chime with audiences today: what does it mean to be an optimist in difficult times? How can we use that optimism to create a positive impact day by day?


Our challenge to you is to think about how you can flex your positioning and find new meanings within it that adapt to changing times. Think about what’s really important to your audience and consider how your brand might act as a compass to help others navigate choppy waters too.

The Advice Header
“The most important brands in the world make you feel something. They do that because they have something they want to change. And as customers, we want to be part of that change. These companies have a reason to exist over and above just to make a profit: They have a purpose. Yes, we admire the product they make. But the thing we love the most about them is the change they are making.”

― David Hieatt, Do Purpose: Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more
The Advice Header
The Interview Header
The positive brand story we built for Rude Health is built on the idea that there’s no right or wrong way to be healthy – only the bright way. Its drinks are as full of flavour as life is full of colour – and these ideas still stand true today. This week we look back at our interview with the brand’s Head of Marketing, Georgina Thomas. We talked about how Rude Health brought its positioning to life in campaigns, events, copy and much more, how the positioning shaped internal conversations and team culture, plus customers’ reception to the then new story.
The Brand Header
DO Lectures calls itself ‘home to creative underdogs’, and is testament to the positive impact brands can create by connecting people through a shared belief. DO Lecture’s belief is ‘what you dream is what you do’. That to create change, you need to put energy and action behind your ideas. What started off as giving talks, hosting retreats and sharing resources on navigating the big ole journey called life, has now become a community of changemakers, disruptors, inspiring leaders and those who want to make a difference too.
What’s your brand positioning? What new meanings can you pull from it, to respond to the challenges of today?

Hit reply to submit your prompt
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Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered –  E F Schumacher

Do Purpose: Why Brands with A Purpose Do Better and Matter More –  David Hieatt

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck – Chip Heath and Dan Heath  

Building Strong Brands – David A. Aaker


‘We Need To Be Brave’: John Lewis Reveals ‘For All Life’s Moments’ Rebrand – The Drum

John Lewis unveils successor to 'Never knowingly undersold' – Campaign Live

You Can't Pause Your Brand. Is It Ready for an Economic Downturn? – AdWeek 

Meet the brands that make life better – ​​Feel-Good Brands


Solve the Mystery of Why People Buy: 'Brand Seduction' – Marketing Smarts

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