Christian Barnett


“If this were a society where original thought were appreciated you would surely have a fine career ahead of you! As it is I can only express the wish that such talents will at least not prove a handicap”

John Mackrell, Professor of History, University of London, in my leaving reference

“I have known Christian Barnett for years and worked closely with him for several of those. Whenever I try to describe those innate characteristics of a great strategic, creative mind, I describe Christian. He is a creatives’ creative – one who brings the strength of strategy to the creative table and then builds on strategy with creative insight. And not just as a consultant, but one who digs in and gets his hands dirty in the pursuit of the creative jewel that awaits those willing to give the kind of love he gives to the many brands he’s worked with.”

Stanley Hainsworth, Founder of Tether and ex-creative director of Nike, LEGO and Starbucks

“Working with Christian always reminds me why I wanted to be in this industry in the first place. He’s interesting and interested; to any problem he brings the optimism that it can be solved, the intellect and creativity necessary to find that solution, and the work ethic to get it done. He’s not only an effective strategic and creative problem solver – he’s also an excellent leader and teacher. Many generations of WPP Fellows have benefitted from his mentorship, and it’s a measure of his commitment that some continue to do so, even after he’s left the company.”

Jon Steel, Planning Director, WPP

“Christian can be counted on to always push you beyond the predictable. That’s why I value working with him so much. He’s great with clients and creatives – bringing passion and insight to any room – and he’s a bit eccentric, which is part of the charm. He’s incredibly hard-working and committed to usable end results to fire up a brand, not just a deck to admire. I’ve worked with Christian on Burger King, NBA, Pella and Thomas & Friends – and look forward to more.”

Julia Beardwood, Owner, Beardwood & Co.

“Christian has brought fresh and unexpected thinking to every challenge we’ve thrown at him. Whether it’s cracking the big brand idea for a global client like Chevron or helping to ideate new products for entrepreneurs like Burt’s Bees, he applies equal measures of inspiration and strategic discipline to help lead the team to a solution. I’ve worked with Christian for many years across many markets and clients, and can honestly say our outcomes are always the better for it.”

Gord McLean, Global Managing Partner, Young & Rubicam Brands

“Christian is one of the brightest, most inquisitive, and nicest planners with whom I’ve ever had the pleasure of working. He digs deeper and wider than anyone I know when searching for a truly fresh and unexpected insight into a business problem, product benefit or customer mindset. He brings briefs to life in fun and surprising ways that inspire creative teams, but never at the expense of simplicity and clarity. He has a keen appreciate for how creatives work, meaning he manages chaos well, and understands when it comes to motivating creative teams one size does not fit all.”

Darren Moran, EVP/Chief Creative Officer, Draftfcb

“Christian is a first-class creative strategist, who brings a fresh perspective to brand propositions, communications ideas or getting the most out of your business. As a facilitator, Christian can steer even large or difficult groups towards a successful outcome, whilst helping to generate original ideas. Brainstorming with Christian is a pleasure. I always leave with greater clarity on whatever is challenging me, and some practical ideas for how to move forward.”

Kat Clark, Head of Campaign Communications, Greenpeace International

“Christian is a rare breed of planner – able to fuse commercial context and then deliver creative leaps. To that end, a perfect combination of being able to marshal multiple insight and data points, to translate into springboard for creative leaps. Jon Steel advised me to bring Christian in on a GSK project – was the best decision I made.”

John Rudaizky, GSK Lead, WPP

“DSM is a €9 billion global company with multiple stakeholders and a senior management team that demands the best. In this environment, a total rebranding exercise is a considerable challenge. Christian worked closely with my team to provide leadership in strategic branding. He successfully engaged with the DSM CEO, the DSM board and senior management to help us achieve a new brand positioning and corporate identity that aligns with our corporate business strategy for the future. He is a clear professional and a pleasure to work with.”

Jos van-Haastrecht, Director Company Branding, DSM

“There are few people I have worked with in my career who have knocked my socks off – Christian did just that when we embarked on our global rebrand across 2010/2011. From his strategic insights, creative thinking and outstanding workshop facilitation he helped steer our rebrand journey with enthusiasm, a good sense of humour, much needed doses of realism from time to time and heaps of creative energy. I would have no hesitation in recommending Christian as a hugely valuable asset to any strategic marketing project.”

Michelle Martin, former Head of Marketing, Lumesse

“When faced with the radically changing landscape of the current economic climate, it’s essential for any business to stay ahead of the game. So with this in mind, we decided it was the right time to rethink our positioning, bring our brand identity up-to-date and ensure we continued to remain 100% relevant to our target market. Of course such a major change can often seem like an overwhelming and insurmountable hurdle to climb, but Christian somehow managed to demystify the process and lead us through the journey in a clear and incredibly logical way. While the process was admittedly tough at times, the end result has been truly phenomenal. Embraced by the company and endorsed externally, it stands as a true testament to his brand genius. “

Paul Gilbert, CEO, Educational Travel Group

“Christian worked with us on brand positioning and campaign concepts for a brand that was growing quickly but had little focus and had developed utilizing a very complex business model. We meant lots of different things to lots of different people but that meant when we entered a new marketplace, it was really tough to find the right focus. He was masterful at digging into what made us special and uncovering the true essence our brand. Through lots of dedication and uncountable hours, Christian push both us and our agency partners through lots of concepts that just were not resonating with consumers, until he finally encouraged us to “throw it all out” and just talk to consumers about the role our product plays in their lives. It was as authentic as our brand is and it uncovered the unspoken common ground, from the bottom up, that we were able to build into positioning and subsequently a successful campaign that was truly break through for us.”

Rick Slade, Marketing Director, Creative Group, GMCR Specialty Coffee Business Unit