All posts by anoukpappers

Anouk Pappers – “Looking for brands with a Purpose”

Between trips I spend a few weeks relaxing in Amsterdam. I stroll through the quiet backstreets of the city centre, order a caffe latte at one of my favourite cafés and take time to rethink my mission.

On my continuous journey around the world, I want to experience cool destinations, meet visionary people and discover brands with a purpose. Over the last few years, I have come across more and more brands that tell their Corporate Social Responsibility story according to the triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.

These criteria measure the real success of a company from an economic, ecological and social perspective. I am very keen to follow these brands that understand that they need to have a purpose in society because I am convinced that this is where the future lies.

But while there is growing interest in the triple bottom line, there is also still a lack of understanding as to what it exactly stands for. Many books have been written on this and related subjects, such as People, Planet, Profit by Peter Fisk, Brand New Justice by Simon Anholt and No Logo by Naomi Klein.

Anouk Pappers for CoolBrands Nextworld Storytelling

Anouk Pappers in Chichen Itza – Yucatan – Mexico

I have defined it as my mission to find people and brands with a purpose, even if that purpose has no yet been achieved and they are not yet 100% sustainable or have not entirely neutralized their CO2 emissions. I’m interested in finding both people and brands that are working to reach such objectives of environmental and social responsibility and that are willing to share their ideas and stories.

Then I can write up the stories in a cool and accessible style and share them with influencers worldwide.

I want to preserve our living environments remain for present and future generations. I am not an activist, I am an anthropologist and I know how to share a message, which means that the best way for me to contribute to environmental conservation is to encourage organizations to take Corporate Social Responsibility seriously. Business should be used as a vehicle for delivering stakeholder value and not just for maximizing shareholder profit.

Today a growing number of organizations have adapted their operations to focus on sustainability and socially responsible business transactions. But there is still much room for improvement. By sharing the stories of brands that are taking relevant steps, I want to inspire other brands and companies to follow suit.

It is important that companies begin to understand that being responsible brings huge rewards – both financially and in terms of social capital.

More stories about Anouk:

Tags: 80 brands, 80 stories, Anouk, Anouk Pappers, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, Around the world, around the world in 80 brands,Around the world in 80 days, Brand Anthropologist, Brands,Brands with a purpose,Cool Brands, Cool House, Cool Storytelling, CoolBrands,Creating TalkValue, Pappers, Stories, Storyteller, Storytelling for brands, Talk Value.


Meeting Mark Terry-Lush – CoolBrands Curator UK

We are somewhere in the English countryside, in rural Gloucestershire to be more precise and if you ask me, it’s quite an unusual place to meet our UK curator Mark Terry-Lush. 

“He mentioned something about a basement,” I tell Anouk. “Apparently, he converted it into a photography studio and a place to chill and organize parties every now and then…”

“Ha, that’s cool!” says Anouk.  “What else do you know about him?” she asks.

“Mark has spent his entire life working in PR and basically exploring the world – either travelling with the brands he’s represented over the years, as a news and features photographer, or on motorcycle adventures,” I tell her.
“He started a boutique PR consultancy with an international flair called Renegade. The guy is basically a voyageur and a brand entrepreneur. Doesn’t he sound perfect for the job?” I ask her.

“The way you describe him, it sounds like he was born for the job,” says Anouk.

As we arrive at what seems like an old farm, we are greeted by Mark and three motorbikes.

“Looks like you’re an easy rider,” I tell him.

“You’ve got no idea!” Mark replies with a laugh. “Welcome to my Gloucestershire, come on in!”

We go straight to the legendary basement and make ourselves at home. It feels like a den and a very cosy hideout. “This is Studio 22,” says Mark. “I named it after a disco I built in my first house…”

“Seems like you’re in your natural habitat here,” I say.

“Absolutely,” Mark replies.

“After graduating from uni, I moved to London where I had a great first job, little money but managed to go clubbing. I learnt to DJ and played house parties and some clubs. That’s one of the reasons I built this little den.”

“Cool,” says Anouk. “What else did you do in London? Is that where you started your career?”

“Indeed, I left university in 1991 and went to work for a magazine marketing company. In that job I got my first taste of PR – I was soon doing PR for some of the most celebrated and iconic magazines in the UK.”

“Interesting, and when did photography come into the picture?” I ask him, curious to hear about his photo mania.

“It’s a passion, together with biking. After having worked for top London PR consultancies, I got tired of it and started mixing up freelance photojournalism and PR – the latter to pay the rent, the former for fun. Before I knew it, I was travelling the world doing adventure stories – learn to fly in 30 days, attend a football riot in Buenos Aires, ride across India on a battered old motorbike…You get the picture.”

“Good mix! And when did you decide to stop moving and start Renegade?” I ask.

“I started Renegade in 2001 and it has mainly been loads of fun since then.”

“How so?”

“Our philosophy is fun, fame or fortune. If a potential client can tick two of those three boxes we’ll give it a go – as long as they’ll let us do something worth talking about. We’ve been lucky to work with clients across Europe, Asia and the U.S.A, we get to travel, meet interesting people and learn loads.”

“So you basically go for quality instead of quantity…”

“Exactly. We don’t want to be big, we just want to work for interesting clients. We have a saying: “Think global, act Gloucester.”

“I like the sound of that,” says Anouk. “That’s exactly what we’re looking for in a curator, that kind of mentality!”

“Well, I’m your man then,” says Mark.

“Excellent! Now why don’t we celebrate, get this party started and try out that DJ booth in the corner!”

“Game on,” says Mark with even a bigger smile.  


Tags: Mark Terry-Lush, Mark Terry, Mark Terry Lush, Meeting Mark Terry, Meeting Mark Terry-Lush, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator UK, coolbrands curator United Kingdom, Terry, Terry Lush, Terry-Lush, meeting Mark Terry-Lush in Gloustershire

Meeting Swati Bengali – CoolBrands Curator India

“Listen to this,” I say to Maarten. “I’m reading an email from Swati Bengali – listen to what she says: ‘I believe when you dig below the surface you discover that people everywhere have the same drivers: Love and Recognition. I think every brand choice stems from a need for one or both of these.’”

“That’s a new take on branding!” says Maarten. “Who is she?”

“I told you about her: she’s hopefully going to be our curator for India. Her profile looks impressive: MBA; 18 years of experience in branding and advertising for agencies in Asia, Africa and North America; lived in South Africa just after the end of apartheid and now has left advertising and started her own m-learning business, in which she helps companies develop technology aided learning solutions.”

“Sounds like a smart cookie,” says Maarten.

And she does volunteer work to get street kids in Mumbai off the streets and into schools.”

“Hmm, smart and nice – when are we meeting her?”

Colaba - Mumbai
Colaba – Mumbai

We’ve met Swati at The Sassy Spoon, one of the newer restaurants in Mumbai she recently discovered. “I’m a foodie,” she says as we take our seats at a shaded table on the patio. “Not just because I love food, but also because I think it is a great way of understanding cultures and characters.”

“In what way?” I ask.

“If you think about it, the flavour of foods reflects the spirit of a nation or culture: Thai food is like its people: it looks deceptively pleasant, but if you dig into it you discover fieriness; Italian food is like Indian food – full of colour and emotion, like its people; Japanese is subtle, artistic, restrained; American is big, brash, loud, generous… I could go on and on.”

“So you eat your way around the world and learn about new cultures,” says Maarten with a cheeky grin.
Swati smiles quietly. “Well I guess you could see it that way. It’s true that I love travelling – to see and experience cultures close up. And I love to drive.”

“Really? Even here?” I say with an air of disbelief as I recall our hectic drive through the complete chaos of Mumbai’s streets.
“Yes even in this crazy traffic,” says Swati. “But I’ve also done several road trips across India, Europe, North America and every country in southern Africa.”

“I’m interested to know more about your decision to leave advertising and start your own business,” says Maarten. “What made you take that step after 18 years?” 

Swati looks out over the gardens for a minute and then says: “You know I guess my choices in life have always been led by my heart. Right now I love that I am involved with something that is so new everywhere in the world. To identify m-learning solutions for industries and sectors I have worked with, to learn and build it from ground up as an entrepreneur. It’s invigorating.”

“And what would your heart say to joining our team and becoming the CoolBrands curator for India?” Maarten asks. Swati laughs and says, “I’d love to be a part of it!”

Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.
Swati Bengali, CoolBrands Curator, Mumbai, India, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands.

Tags: Swati Bengali, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator India, coolbrands curator India, swati, meeting swati bengali, bengali

Meeting Rafito Andrade – CoolBrands Curator Brazil

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and we’ve been window shopping in Sao Paulo’s trendy Rua Oscar Freire. “I’m curious to meet Rafito tonight,” I tell Anouk. “It sounds like he has the perfect profile to be our Brazil curator.”

“Yeah, I was going to ask you about him,” says Anouk. “What’s his background?”

“He’s young but he has wide international experience in marketing and brand building in the Brazilian fashion sector – everything from designer labels to footwear and jewellery. He’s worked across the Americas, Europe and Asia and he’s also organized many international promotional events.”

“That’s interesting! What kind of events?”

“Well in 2007 he did the image and branding for Brazil Fashion Now, an event to promote Brazil’s top apparel and accessories designers in Tokyo with an exhibition and a catwalk show.”

“Cool! Nice crossover: Brazil – Japan! I’ll be interested to hear about his experiences!” 

Rafito Andrade in Japan
Rafito Andrade in Japan

It was our global curator Marc Capra’s idea to get Rafito involved as our curator for Brazil, so Marc has organized for us to all meet tonight to discuss NextWorld Storytelling in Sao Paulo’s Asian district, at Rafito’s favourite Chinese restaurant. Rafito has just returned from a month in China, South Korea and Europe and he’s full of enthusiasm and energy when we sit down.

“Guys, this is great: I love the cultural kaleidoscope we are creating tonight: Dutch, American, Brazilian, Japanese, Chinese! It perfectly represents the multicultural diversity of Brazil. To me this is really the core of the Brazilian lifestyle.”

“But it sounds like you’re pretty keen on exploring other cultures too,” Anouk says. “You do a lot of travelling for your work right? Building up the image of Brazilian brands around the world…”

“That’s right,” says Rafito. “I travel for my work, but to be honest it is also one of my passions. I love exploring the unknown and discovering new cultures and traditions. After spending time in Asia I became interested in Eastern philosophy and ideas about mind and body – that’s also when I started practising aikido and training to be a shiatsu teacher.”

“Wow, nothing if not diverse: a Brazilian teaching shiatsu!” Anouk says.

“Well why not right?” Rafito says with a laugh. “Combine the best of all worlds: for me that means bringing together Eastern philosophy, the American can-do mindset and a Brazilian lifestyle.”

“Sounds like you’re the perfect candidate to be our NextWorld Storytelling curator for Brazil!” Marc says. “What do you reckon?”

“I’m in!” says Rafito.

“Excellent!” says Anouk.

“I can’t wait to get started!” Rafito says as he raises his glass. “And now I’d like to propose a toast: to the NextWorld, its stories and its people!”

Tags: Rafito Andrade, Rafael Andrade, Rafito, Rafi, Rafael, Andrade, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator Brazil, coolbrands curator Brazil, CoolBrands Curator Brasil, meeting rafito andrade

Meeting Noor Al Geziry – CoolBrands Curator UAE

We’ve just arrived in Dubai and we’re already on our way to our first meeting with Noor Al Geziry, who was suggested to us to be our CoolBrands Curator for the United Arab Emirates. In the cab on our way over I pull out my iPad and scroll through my notes. “You know Noor is quite young but she has such an interesting career path and such wide-ranging interests,” I tell Maarten.

“I know!” says Maarten. “I read her profile and was impressed: she studied visual arts and graphic design, got her first job in corporate marketing and branding at a large property developer and then went on to work in the non-profit sector.”

“But at school she was really good at maths and science and she’s also a real people’s person,” I continue.

“And now she’s the vice-chairman of operations in her father’s hospitality and tourism consultancy,” says Maarten.

“It’s an ideal match for our NextWorld Storytelling platform,” I say as I close my iPad and look out of the window at the Dubai Mall rising up in the distance. “Smart, curious, experience in corporate marketing, branding and the non-profit sector, and now tourism…”

“Well, let’s go and see if she thinks so too!” says Maarten as we get out of the cab.


Noor has asked us to meet her at Café Bateel in the Dubai Mall. We find her waiting for us at one of patio tables, sipping a small cup of strong Arabic coffee and intently watching the passersby. “I should probably have studied anthropology or psychology,” she says with a laugh. “I love people watching. Or more accurately: I love learning about people and their lives. Where they come from, what they’re doing, why they do it… It’s like I have an endless curiosity to find out more.”

Noor Al Geziry - Curator UAE - CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling
Noor Al Geziry – Curator UAE – CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling

“And why do you think you have this urge to know more? What drives it?” Maarten – who is now also curious – asks.

Noor thinks for a moment and then says: “I guess it has to do with a desire to bring people, things, ideas and cultures closer together… If I could, I’d travel the world just to explore and experience.”

“I’m interested to know why you left the world of corporate marketing,” I say.

“Working for Emaar Properties was a real learning school,” says Noor. “On so many levels: it taught me about the corporate world, sharpened my skills, but also gave me more insight into other cultures as it’s such an international company. It was an amazing experience.”

“But?” I say.

“But in the end I just felt it wasn’t me,” she says. “That fast-paced life of the high-level corporate world… I just felt that it was not what people or the world are about. And I was curious to explore other areas and learn new things.”

“Noor Al Geziry: A constant quest for the new and unexplored!” says Maarten as if he’s reading a headline.  

Noor laughs. “Well you know secretly, I still sometimes dream of studying criminology and becoming a detective… or starring in my own cartoon or maybe even being the storyteller!”

“Well in the meantime,” I say, “while you develop your cartoon alter ego and get your degree in criminology, what do you say to joining our NextWorld Storytelling project and investigating people and their stories for us?”

“I’d love to,” says Noor. “You know me: always ready to explore new things and learn more!”


Noor Al Geziry, CoolBrands curator, Dubai, UAE, Cool Noor, #ATW80B #CBNWS Around the World in 80 Brands
Noor Al Geziry, CoolBrands curator, Dubai, UAE, Cool Noor, #ATW80B #CBNWS Around the World in 80 Brands
Noor Al Geziry, CoolBrands curator, Dubai, UAE, Cool Noor, #ATW80B #CBNWS Around the World in 80 Brands
Noor Al Geziry, CoolBrands curator, Dubai, UAE, Cool Noor, #ATW80B #CBNWS Around the World in 80 Brands
Noor Al Geziry, CoolBrands curator, Dubai, UAE, Cool Noor, #ATW80B #CBNWS Around the World in 80 Brands
Noor Al Geziry, CoolBrands curator, Dubai, UAE, Cool Noor, #ATW80B #CBNWS Around the World in 80 Brands

Tags: Noor Al Geziry, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator UAE, coolbrands curator UAE, CoolBrands Curator United Arab Emirates, noor, al geziry, meeting Noor Al Geziry,Noor Al Geziry, CoolBrands curator, Dubai, UAE, Cool Noor, #ATW80B, #CBNWS, Around the World in 80 Brands,

Meeting Alia Abou Alwan – CoolBrands Curator The Gulf

We’ve spent the morning at More Café in the Mall of the Emirates, sipping caffè lattes and discussing our upcoming trip around the world for our NextWorld Storytelling project. “By the way,” says Anouk, “have you read the profile of Alia Abou Alwan, our new curator for The Gulf? I really can’t wait to meet her. I swear that with her experience and her network, she must know everyone in the region.” She pulls out her iPad and scrolls through Alia’s profile. “I don’t even know where to start…”

“How about at the beginning?” I venture.

Anouk gives me a glare and then smiles. “Ok so: born in Kuwait, lived in Iraq, studied in Lebanon, is now a UAE national, but also lived in London and worked consistently in international settings.”

“Which means she’s cosmopolitan and well travelled,” I say.

“Right,” says Anouk. “She started working at the age of 18 and by the time she was 21 she had been promoted to the position of Ladies’ Bank Manageress at the Commercial Bank of Dubai.”

“Which means she’s probably hard working and career-driven.”

“You wait,” says Anouk, “this is just the start: she also founded the first ladies club in Dubai and then worked in antiques and jewellery, even organizing Sotheby’s first auction in Dubai. And then she co-founded a hospitality and tourism consultancy with her husband, where she’s been the vice-chairman since 2001. It says she’s ‘a natural communicator and the perfect public relations personality’.”

“Ok, I see what you mean: she must have an amazing network, not to mention invaluable insights and experience in the region. Let’s see what she thinks of NextWorld Storytelling in The Gulf!”

Alia Abou Alwan - CoolBrands Curator The Gulf
Alia Abou Alwan – CoolBrands Curator The Gulf

Two days later, we meet Alia at Café Bateel in Dubai Mall. We’ve just ordered three mint teas, and Alia is telling us about her passion for figure skating and mono water-skiing. She was the first girl in Dubai to do that in the old days. It needed a lot of courage to wear a bathing suit in public, as we can imagine. 

“Sorry, did you say skating?” I ask. “I thought that’s something we do in bitter cold Dutch winters, not here in Dubai!”

Alia laughs. “Well, you’re right that it’s maybe not the first thing you associate with Dubai, but I’ve always loved it. I was the first to skate on the ice of Dubai’s first ice-skating rink.”

“Really? That’s incredible,” says Anouk. “But then Dubai is pretty incredible in many ways: so culturally diverse and so full of surprises.”

“That’s part of what I love about it,” says Alia. “There are always new things to discover and new trends to watch, new places to go and new people to meet. It’s all happening here – Dubai attracts talent and visionaries.”

“Aha! That brings us to the question we discussed with you by email,” I say. “Would you be interested in joining our NextWorld Storytelling project as the curator for the Gulf?”

“I’d love to. I think the project has huge potential here in the Gulf. I’ve already made a list of potential people to approach, so when do you want me to start?”


Tags: Alia Abou Alwan, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator The gulf, coolbrands curator The gulf, Alia abou, meeting Alia Abou Alwan

Meeting Hans Mueller – Coolbrands Curator Thailand

We’re in Bangkok to meet Hans Mueller, the executive creative director of the advertising and design agency JWT/Degree here. We have asked him to be our NextWorld Storytelling curator for Thailand and can’t wait to start working with him.

Hans has asked us to meet him at Spring and Summer, a unique restaurant concept that he developed with his partner. Located in two stunning restored Bauhaus style houses, the two restaurants are surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful tall trees.

Upon arrival, a host directs us to Summer, the chocolate-themed restaurant that lies across from Spring, the main restaurant which serves a whole range of pan-Asian dishes. We are shown into the reading room on the second floor, a comfortable private space shaded by beautiful old trees that offers views over the gardens and rest of the property. As we sink into the comfy armchairs, our host brings in two caffè lattes and a selection of delicate chocolate bonbons on a small tray.

“Well, this is certainly a good beginning,” says Maarten with a smile. “This whole place just exudes peace and serenity.”

“It also looks like we have something in common with Hans,” I say as I walk over to a series of black-and-white photos on the wall. “Travel to cool destinations and photography!”

As we admire the photos and try to recognize destinations, we hear the door behind us open and Hans walks in.

Spring & Summer Bangkok
Spring & Summer Bangkok

“Great to finally meet you!” he says as we shake hands.

“We were just admiring your photos,” I say. “Seems like you’ve travelled around the region quite a bit!”

“Any chance I get,” Hans says with a smile, “travel photography is one of my passions!”

“We’ll have a lot to talk about in that case!” says Maarten as we sit down, this time in the sofa corner. “I also heard you do a lot of NGO work. What kind of organizations do you work with?”

“I’ve supported and worked with various NGOs for many years now,” says Hans. “MTV Exit, which works on human trafficking; Greenpeace Thailand, which focuses on air pollution and wastewater treatment; the Water Giants, which works to stop child deaths through drowning – did you know that drowning is the number one killer of small children in South-East Asia? – and FREELAND, which fights wildlife crime and trafficking.”

“Wow, how you find the time to do all that in addition to your work for JWT/Degree?” I ask.

“I make time,” says Hans with a laugh. “No matter how busy I am! I mainly provide support in the area of communications, branding and digital strategy development as well.”

“What do you get from it?” asks Maarten. “Why do you do it?”

Hans is pensive for a moment and then answers: “I find it hugely gratifying to work with people who put others first. And it’s also humbling to be confronted with the realities around us – makes you realize how lucky you are. I think I can really say that this work has taught me the true meaning of compassion.”

Maarten looks at me and then at Hans. “Well, to me it sounds like the combination of your experience in branding strategy and communications on the one hand and the NGO world on the other fits perfectly with our world quest to find people and brands with a purpose!”

“Definitely,” I say. “So what do you say? Would you be willing to be our curator for Thailand?”  

“Would love to!” says Hans with a smile. “When do we start?”

Hans Mueller by CoolBrands - Hans-Werner Mueller - Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands – Hans-Werner Mueller – Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands - Hans-Werner Mueller - Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands – Hans-Werner Mueller – Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands - Hans-Werner Mueller - Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands – Hans-Werner Mueller – Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands - Hans-Werner Mueller - Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands – Hans-Werner Mueller – Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands - Hans-Werner Mueller - Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B
Hans Mueller by CoolBrands – Hans-Werner Mueller – Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B


Tags:  Hans Mueller, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator Thailand, coolbrands curator Thailand, hans, meeting hans mueller, mueller, Hans Mueller by CoolBrands – Hans-Werner Mueller – Summer Spring Bangkok Thailand #CBNWS #ATW80B

Meeting Stephanie Hancock – CoolBrands Curator Singapore

We came to Singapore to meet Stephanie Hancock and ask her to join our global CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling project as the regional curator. We’re looking for people with international work experience and an eye for cool stories.


“She has plenty of international experience in any case,” says Anouk. “She spent the last 20 years working at different JWT offices around the world. It took her from Sydney to Toronto to Chicago. From Kellogg’s to Dell to Unilever. From North America she came to Asia in 2005, to Bangkok, and a few years later she migrated to in Singapore.”

“Migrated?” I ask. “It sounds like you’re describing a bird species!”

“Ha!” says Anouk with a smile. “Well if she were a bird, she’d an albatross cruising around the globe. But she’s been settled in Southeast Asia for quite some time now and she has extensive experience working in Thailand, Japan, China, India – and Singapore of course.”

“Together with her extensive experience of working with brands,” I say, “it makes her the perfect candidate to be a CoolBrands curator. She will know all the cool stories. The people with a vision and the brands with a purpose.”

“Well let’s find out if she feels the same!”

We’ve arranged to meet Stephanie at her all-day breakfast café Wild Honey in downtown Singapore, which she launched in 2009 with her husband Guy. She welcomes us with a big smile and a table that is already set for us.

After we have ordered our coffees, we sit down…. 

“From your profile it seems like you’ve lived all over,” says Anouk.

“I’ve been around,” says Stephanie with a smile, “I guess I am curious by nature. I love seeking out the new and I’m fascinated by people, brands, food, fashion, movies, books and anything new really… Even though I’ve been settled in Singapore for several years now, I think I’ve retained my global – or at least regional – curiosity.”

“As you know,” I say with a certain gravitas, “we’re here to see whether you would want to be our curator in Singapore.”

“It would be such a great asset for our global CoolBrands NextWorld Network. The network mainly consists of anthropologists, storytellers, media experts and brand builders.”

“Well,” says Stephanie, “I have 20 years of experience in brand building… And I’m not unfamiliar with the world of media. And you would want me to discover cool stories about people with a vision and brands with a purpose?”

Anouk nods and I look at her expectantly as she pauses for a few seconds with a pensive air. Suddenly her face brightens up and she says with a smile. “That sounds great! I accept. And actually, I already have a cool story: it’s about WILDAID, an international non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating the illegal global trade in wildlife.”

“That’s great! ” says Anouk. “We have already featured many NGOs in our storytelling platform. A few years ago we even launched an initiative called CoolCharity.”

“Then I also have the story of Lotus Outreach Australia, where I’m a board member. It promotes and supports girls’ education among the poor in Cambodia. If we include their story alongside that of the brands and visionaries, they will get the attention they deserve.”

“That’s exactly what we’re trying to do!” I say. “We share the stories with 25,000 opinion leaders worldwide and we ask them to share the stories in their networks. The stories are written in a narrative form, with a wow-factor and stickiness, ready for word-of-mouth!

“Cool,” says Stephanie with a smile. “I will start curating, and you can start writing!”

Stephanie Hancock, CoolBrands curator - Wild Honey Singapore #ATW80B
Stephanie Hancock, CoolBrands curator – Wild Honey Singapore #ATW80B
Stephanie Hancock, CoolBrands curator - Wild Honey Singapore #ATW80B
Stephanie Hancock, CoolBrands curator – Wild Honey Singapore #ATW80B

Stephanie Hancock, CoolBrands curator - Guy Wachs - Wild Honey Singapore

Stephanie Hancock, CoolBrands curator - Guy Wachs - Wild Honey Singapore
Stephanie Hancock, Guy Wachs – Wild Honey Singapore
Stephanie Hancock, CoolBrands curator - Wild Honey Singapore 3
Anouk Pappers, Cynthia Chua and Stephanie Hancock – CoolBrands curator – Wild Honey Singapore 3
Stephanie Hancock and Guy Wachs Wild Honey #wildhoney -CoolBrands curator - Singapore
Stephanie Hancock and Guy Wachs Wild Honey #wildhoney -CoolBrands curator – Singapore


Tags:  CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator Singapore, coolbrands curator Singapore, Stephanie Hancock, meeting Stephanie Hancock, Stephanie, Hancock

Meeting Clara Okoro – CoolBrands Curator Nigeria

We met Clara Chinwe Okoro in Cannes during the Lions Awards Festival.
“I’m from Nigeria,” she said. “I love the landscapes, the untouched virgin spaces and the almost invincible way of life that defines my country.” We were having a coffee at the Mocca, opposite the Palais des Festivals when she said: “If you are looking for a true definition of the word ‘chaos’, you need look no further than the way we live. But the chaos has steeled my spirit.”

Clara Chinwe Okoro - CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling Curator Nigeria
Clara Chinwe Okoro – CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling Curator Nigeria

As to our question what she was doing at an advertising festival in Cannes, she answered: “I’m the founder of a company called Brandworld Media, which was set up to preach the gospel of branding to Africa. I am here to listen to and interview people with an interesting vision on branding. I can then share those stories back home with my audience.”

“Interesting,” I said. “What was your vision on brands and branding when you set up Brandworld Media?”

“My belief was that brands were the new wealth creator in any modern economy and my assignment was to use the media as a tool for bringing prosperity to Africa. Twelve years on and the dream is still soaring, despite the scars and sometimes even nightmares.

“Actually, speaking of the people I am interviewing,” Clara continued, “why don’t I interview you for Brandworld Media here in Cannes. When you come to Nigeria for your project Around the World in 80 Brands, you can then interview me for your book.”

“That sounds like a plan,” I said. “But why don’t we combine our forces and find the stories worth sharing in Nigeria together?”

“Sounds good, let me think about it, and we’ll talk more when you come to Lagos,” she had answered.

And here we are, in Lagos, Nigeria, six weeks after our first meeting in Cannes. The meeting is set on the campus of the University of Lagos, bordering the Lagoon. “I love this place,” Clara says. “It’s like an oasis in this huge city. I come here quite often and just sit by the waterfront overlooking the lagoon.” We look at the large surface of water, which is cut in half by the Third Mainland Bridge that connects the mainland to Victoria Island, aka VI.

“Another reason why I like it here is being in the presence of young people. Not too long ago I started ICE, a platform for trend forecasting on how youths consume brands.”

“Interesting,” I say. “That brings me back to our previous discussion about you being our CoolBrands Curator for Nigeria, did you think about it?”

Clara laughs: “Yes, I surely have. I would love to be your curator for Nigeria, since I think there is a huge need for Nigerian brands and people with a vision to be known outside of our own country and even continent. The time is right, so let’s start finding the coolest stories!”

Tags:  Anouk Pappers, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator Nigeria, coolbrands curator Nigeria, clara chinwe okoro, meeting clara chinwe okoro, clara, chinwe okoro, okoro

Meeting Dada Santiago – CoolBrands Curator Philippines

We’ve been in Manila for three days and today we’re going on an out-of-town excursion to a beach resort near Laiya where media and marketing guru Dada Santiago has asked us to meet her for lunch.

As we drive down the South Luzon Highway towards Batangas, Anouk pulls out her notes. “This is going to be so interesting,” she says. “Dada’s profile is a perfect mix of media, corporate communications and marketing – I think she’ll add so much to the project.”  

“She worked in TV right?” I ask.

“Yeah, for 22 years!” says Anouk. “She’s like the Christiane Amanpour of the Philippines! She was an anchor on the morning news and then had her own current affairs programme. She’s interviewed everyone from Indira Ghandi to Sean Connery.”

“Wow, cool!”

“Then in 1990 she made the switch to corporate communications and became the Philippine PR manager for De Beers, and in 1999 she started her own marketing communications agency and worked for clients like Nestle and Del Monte. It says here that she is ‘a born communicator’.”

“Great! That means she’ll love our NextWorld Storytellng project,” I say as we arrive at the resort.

Dada Santiago - CoolBrands Curator Philippines
Dada Santiago – CoolBrands Curator Philippines

We find Dada on a shaded terrace overlooking the beach, just finishing off a call to her daughter. After we order drinks, she proudly tells us about her two kids – her daughter is finishing medical school and her son wants to go to law school. “I was completely focused on my career until I was 43, but I have made up for lost time since and have devoted all my time to my family for the last 15 years,” she says.

“Tell us a bit about your time in broadcasting,” says Anouk.

“It was a fascinating time,” says Dada. “I got to meet so many interesting people and I also travelled a lot. Even afterwards, when I went into corporate communications I was very lucky that kept on travelling, because I love to discover new places and learn about other cultures.”

“And you also have a passion for communications,” I say.

“Oh yes,” Dada says with a smile. “It is my biggest passion after my family. Already when I was a little girl, my parents always made me emcee at family gatherings and later at school I loved acting and always came first in oratorical contests.”

“Truly a born communicator then!” says Anouk.

“I guess you could say that,” says Dada and laughs. “I still use my skills now as part of seminars on work values and marketing concepts. I really love giving these workshops. Nothing can make me more fulfilled than being able to deliver a message, see that people are convinced and have taken action. That’s when I really know that I have made a difference in people’s lives.”

“That sounds like a philosophy that fits right into our NextWorld Storytelling project concept,” I say. “What would you say to joining our global team and becoming our curator for the Philippines?”

Dada smiles. “I thought about it carefully,” she says. “And my answer is yes!”

Tags: Dada Santiago, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator Philippines, coolbrands curator Philippines, dada, santiago, meeting Dada Santiago