About Us

A brand is not branding.

That’s something we firmly believe at Verbal Identity.

A brand is the promise of value you make to your customers.

(And branding is the superficial realisation of that promise)

A clear brand avoids commoditisation.

It means having absolute clarity on who, what, where to target and how to do it. It means influence and control over every decision, macro and micro, that’s taken in the building.

Which is why, for us, clear thinking always comes first. Not just intellectual know-how but the kind of pragmatism that’s only borne out of insight.

It’s why language is our focal point. It is the most powerful vehicle for delivering those insights.

At Verbal Identity, we like left brain and right brain. We like people with the analytical aptitude to solve problems and the creativity to articulate the solutions. But we don’t always look in the most obvious places. In our office there are professional and educational backgrounds in copywriting, law, behavioural science, music, and literature.

This is us

Chris West, Founder

Chris founded Verbal Identity in 2010. He works directly with CEOs and CMOs to define their brand’s strategic vision for the next 5 years and beyond. Since founding Verbal Identity, he’s worked with some of Britain’s best-loved luxury brands, as well as the world’s largest brewer and America’s biggest car company.

Chris’ approach to defining brands helped Hunter Boot generate consistent double-digit growth following their relaunch in 2014, and recently he developed the brand strategy for Belstaff, which led to its successful acquisition in 2017.

Previously, Chris ran a project-based advertising agency for 10 years working with clients including Sky, Unilever, EMAP, Harry Winston, Selfridges and Ocado. Before that, he was an award-winning copywriter for Saatchi and Saatchi, BBH, Leagas Delaney, RKCR and Mother. He takes occasional NED positions on client boards, most recently with VOTARY, the successful new skincare brand. Outside of work, he contributes to The Sunday Times and a leading luxury magazine, and his screenplay won Best Film at the Barcelona Film Festival.

Charlotte Semler West, Non Exec Director

Charlotte is Verbal Identity’s Non-Exec director and lead Retail Strategy advisor. An Oxford Politics, Philosophy, and Economics alumna, she has since redeemed herself with numerous high profile successes in business strategy. She was the lead agency strategist at Tesco for the launch of ClubCard.

In 2001, she founded MYLA, the groundbreaking (and earth-moving) lingerie company, which she also led for its first five years. Not content with having launched one of the retail market’s most enduring loyalty schemes and founding a game-changing business, she now runs the online boutique Charlotteandco.

Charlotte’s experience gives Verbal Identity a unique edge in distinguishing insights from irrelevance in our text analytics projects.

Fiona Stewart, Senior Advisory Consultant

Fiona has over 25 years experience as a strategic advisor to organisations focused on futuremarket, brand, and communication strategy.

Her formative years were spent undertaking market analysis and marketing strategy and planning roles. She became CEO of a brand consultancy and a specialist research company within global marketing services groups WPP and Chime. Fiona’s also founded her own marketing strategy business – The Antennae Collective.

She is an accredited coach with The Tavistock Institute and coaches and mentors individuals, particularly women, transitioning into leadership roles.

Her client portfolio ranges from major corporates such as Aviva, Barclays, Barratt Developments, O2 through to specialist luxury brands such as Boodles, Corinthia, Dorchester Collection, and Value Retail (Designer Retail outlets). Fiona has also worked with leading arts organisations such as BBC, Royal Shakespeare Company and Tate.

She is a Fellow of the Marketing Society and a Trustee of The Brand Foundation, a charity providing practical, on-line support to help start-ups succeed.

Al Hussain, Senior Strategist

Al joined Verbal Identity over 3 years ago. As a Senior Strategist, he makes sure that clients benefit from a combination of rigorous method and creative insight.

Al has helped to transform organisations including Britain’s most popular car company and Britain’s favourite DIY retailer. He has also shaped the brand identities of the world’s biggest connected car technology company, BASF’s pharma startup, and several global luxury brands.

Previously, Al studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and founded his own music label and marketing services company.

Sophie Mullen, Associate Strategist

Sophie is an Associate Strategist who joined Verbal Identity in 2017. She researches brands and markets for clients. She’s already worked with some of Britain’s most exciting brands, including a famous luxury fashion house and a leading car company.

Sophie has also worked client-side in the marketing departments of a social media technology startup and a major healthcare charity. She graduated in Law at the University of Nottingham and then received a 1st-class degree in English Literature from Queen Mary UoL.

Sophie built her first brand at University, where she transformed Queen Mary’s Underground Music Society from a small, committed community into a 600-member society running its own events and collaborating with Fabric and LWE.

Julia Jones, Executive Assistant

Julia joined Verbal Identity in 2018 as Executive Assistant to our Founder, Chris.

Julia brings 20 years of experience, following a career at the John Lewis Partnership, where she held several managerial positions and supported the largest and most ambitious transformation programme the business had ever embarked upon.


And, if you’re interested in joining our team, have a look at our Careers Page.