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”

Professor Jonathan A.J. Wilson PhD is an Academic and Consultant who specialises in what he calls the ABCDs of Business and Culture: Advertising, Branding, Communications, and Digital.

He has published over 200 pieces of work, which have led to over 100 conference-speaking engagements across the globe. He is also a Partner at the Branding and Business Strategy firm, Dragonfly Black, and author of the book, Halal Branding.

Professor Wilson 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.

In 2017, Professor Wilson received a LinkedIn Top Voices Award and was one of the featured professionals in their cross-platform advertising campaigns – something that he is especially proud of, as he was the only UK academic, and was recognised for his comments on Intersectionality, Future Trends, Personal Branding, and Student Engagement.

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.

He graduated with a BSc (Dund) in Chemistry (specialising in Life Sciences), followed by a MBA (Dund) – and then moved to London in 1998 to start a career in Advertising. In 2005, after 7 years of industry experience in selling, planning, and buying Advertising and Sponsorship campaigns, Jonathan moved into Academia and Consulting. Subsequently, he was awarded a PhD (Brun); held a number of academic positions, notably Programme Director and Associate Dean; and is now a Full-Professor.

Professor Wilson champions the art of Science and the science of Art. For his doctorate, he decided to move in the opposite direction from the numbers and hard science of his Chemistry degree - into forensic qualitative and iterative research that extracts gems from industry leaders, influencers and professors.

His PhD investigates Global Branding, Management, and Consumer trends - exploring how brands influence cultures and cultures shape brands. It draws from the work of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, and Al Ghazali - through Branding and Cultural lenses. He maps the progression of branding approaches over the past 60 years, creating a taxonomy of brand schools of thought. Finally using an iterative Delphi study over 18 months, 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.

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 previously 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, The Drum, 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.

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.