Prof. Dr. Jonathan A.J. Wilson

“I'm the boffin that debunks labels, discovers trends, and brings fresh Brand thinking with a quantum of cool”

Jonathan A.J. Wilson, BSc (Dund), MBA (Dund), PhD (Brun) started his career over 20 years ago in the advertising industry. In 2005, he moved into academia and consulting.

He specialises in what he calls the ABCDs of Business and Culture: Advertising, Branding, Communications, and Digital.

Professor Wilson has published over 200 pieces of work, which have led to over 100 conference-speaking engagements across the globe.

He has developed a reputation for being an electric, dynamic and quick-witted public speaker - able to tackle real-world phenomena. His analysis of slow and fast culture blends old school thinking with new school insight, a splash of stand-up panache, and a dash of gritty Hip-hop/Grunge.

He asserts that, "today more than ever Brands have to Take a Stand - and articulate an authentic and credible position on Race, Religion, and Politics".

Professor Wilson is an established thought leader, with a body of work that covers: corporate identity, food, fashion, sport, tourism, music, technology, education, ethnicity, religion, Gen-Y, Gen-Z, and popular culture.

Islamica 500 lists him in the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders for his work in Islamic Economics, Halal Branding, and Muslim Millennials. His papers on Halal and Islamic Branding are currently some of the most widely cited globally. In 2014 he received the Vice Chancellor’s award for Staff Member of the Year.

Professor Wilson is: a Halal Branding and Marketing Consultant to the Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia; Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Islamic Marketing; an Executive Trainer for Al Jazeera Media Network in Qatar; and an Advisor to innovation and research firm Stylus, luxury fashion brand The ISHU, and the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance.

His research on Inconspicuous Branded Consumption and Luxury appears in the September 2015 Harvard Business Review and in the Journal of Marketing Management where it received the 2016 Best Paper Award.

Professor Wilson's work and views have featured in, amongst others: The Guardian, The Economist, Huffington Post, Thomson Reuters, Nikkei Asian Review, KBS TV (Korea), Communicate Advertising Age, The Times, Sunday Times, Khaleej Times, Sky News Arabia, BBC, BBC World, Vision Magazine, BRIC Plus, The Marketeers, KIN Global and Astro Awani (Malaysia).

He has contributed to industry projects and reports for: McKinsey & Company, Middle East; DinarStandard; Thomson Reuters and Salaam Gateway; Mindshare, London; Stylus; PwC Malaysia; Oxford Analytica; MBA & Company; Tokyo Institute of Technology and Gurunavi Japanese Restaurant Guide.

He also sits on the panel of judges for the Islamic Economy Awards - hosted by Thomson Reuters, the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, and under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Professor Wilson’s approach brings together the art of Science and the science of Art – applied to dynamic slow and fast cultural environments. He is a Chemistry graduate, who went onto finish an MBA in 1998. His PhD thesis investigates Global Branding, Management, and Consumer trends - exploring how cultures shape brands, and brands can then go on to influence cultures.

His thesis begins by investigating the work of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, and Al Ghazali through branding and cultural lenses. He then maps the progression of branding approaches over the past 60 years, creating a taxonomy of brand schools of thought. Finally using a Delphi study over 18 months, where he gathered the views of a panel of international experts: Professor Wilson’s literature and empirical analysis culminated in him developing his own Branding model – which he employs when consulting in Brand Strategy, and during training courses.

He has first hand experience of branding nations, people, products, services, and concepts.

The Backstory...

I was born and raised in Manchester, England – son of a white Scottish father and black Caribbean mother, from St Kitts, into a Christian household. After a journey of reading about and tasting different cultures and religions, in 2000 I decided to convert to Islam – to join that elite list of kilt-wearing Muslims. Like Bob Marley, I’m a café latte blend of frothy milky Scottish swagger; underpinned by an intense, rich, dark, Arabica Caribbean kick.

Once upon a time I was a mean rugby player at University and for England Schools. At school I won national awards for my ceramics and art. I’m a retired touring and session bass guitarist and vocalist who made it onto television, radio, and international concert stages like Glastonbury, before YouTube. I also provided music and character voices for the first few award winning Grand Theft Auto video games.

I currently train in the Japanese martial arts at a London dojo, under a Japanese sensei with over 70 years experience. I hold a 4th Dan in Iaido, and a 3rd Dan in Kendo.

I’m from that generation that was coloured by a diet of Hendrix, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm-X, Bruce Lee, Beethoven, Toshiro Mifune, Guitar music, Electronica, and Hip-hop.

My work fuels my play and my play fuels my work.