Doug Hamilton, executive creative director for Wolff Olins, has a long standing relationship with Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong-based conglomerate that owned Orange before selling it on to German corporation Mannesmann.
Now he is to work directly with the client, although he remains employed by Wolff Olins. ‘I’ll do exactly what I’ve always done for for the company, but I’ll be doing it differently. I’ll be helping it with its culture and organisation – ideas that are relevant to its customers,’ he says.
Hamilton says that the client has always taken up a large proportion of his time and it’s a relationship he feels very comfortable with. ‘It’s not new. Most of my time has been spent on Hutchison work for quite a while. There is only so much time and I’m putting most of my energy into this,’ he says.
What is new is the way in which Hamilton will work with Hutchison. He will have a much broader remit and will help develop the company’s portfolio of brands that spans telecoms, port operators, energy, retail and property interests around the world. It is also likely that Hamilton will work on the creation of Hutchison’s third-generation mobile-phone brand.
‘I’ve always believed in a responsibility and a commitment, not just to Wolff Olins and our clients, but ultimately to our clients’ customers. That’s where the real benefit of our work is. We’re really working for them. My new way of working is a normal, natural consequence of this. It’s the next step and will take me closer to the issues and closer to customers,’ he says.
He adds that while Wolff Olins doesn’t do direct marketing, advertising or architecture, clients need all these disciplines.
‘I believe branding ensures people are given more, better, cheaper, faster solutions and products, so they can live better lives. Part of this is to do with design, but it’s also much more than that,’ he says. ‘So maybe my role with Hutchison will give me more responsibility and influence, more opportunity to look at delivery of all these things that make a difference. My role with Hutchison will give me this access.’
The move has been welcomed at Wolff Olins because it will not only broaden Hamilton’s horizons, but will also have a knock-on effect. ‘Change is what business is all about. There is much to be gained for both sides,’ says Wolff Olins chairman Brian Boylan. ‘Hutchison Whampoa will benefit from Hamilton’s focus and much broader involvement. Wolff Olins will gain from Hamilton’s experience, direct access and exposure to his worldwide contacts in the branding world.’
One of Hong Kong’s oldest companies, Hutchison Whampoa has a very diverse portfolio of businesses which includes ports, property, retail, telecommunications, energy operations and real estate in the Bahamas, China, Japan, and the UK. It is currently developing a pan-European 3G telecoms network. Its competitors in the telecommunications sector include AT&T, BT, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom.