Tom Johnstone, Founder & CEO of Optimist Drinks
Former Chief Strategist at 72&Sunny and CMO at Ember 

Brand & Business Innovation, Sustainability & Brand Strategy 

What is the most interesting industry tip/ trend or shift that you are witnessing taking place at the moment? 
The next few years are going to be very difficult, socially and politically particularly in the US. If the people running businesses and brands continue to treat people purely as consumers and blindly fuel the economy, I think we’re failing.

Success will come for those who look at people not just as a target audience or a consumer but as citizens first. From there they can help encourage social awareness, positive action and a long term move towards mindful consumption and conscious business. Big cultural changes need to be at the heart of business agendas, brands that do this successfully and authentically will be valued in a completely different way. 

What's your POV on how to be the best consultant working with brands today? 
Listen hard to the experts you’re working with on the inside, give them credit, recognize they’re coming to this with some level of vulnerability. Then be a constructive, honest outsider and bring creativity and boldness to the table, if they don’t want real change then they’re talking to the wrong people. 

What should we be reading, following, or knowing about? 


"Lost Connections" by Johann Hari
Brilliant book by a wonderful mind - shows the value of community and the impact that digital lives have had on us. Highly recommend it. He’s written a new one called Stolen Focus, but I keep forgetting to order it…


On Being with Krista Tippett
great antidote to the news cycle

OPTIMIST in Progress
yep, a barefaced and completely shameless plug for my own brand's podcast, not sorry


favorite musical discovery of last year

Newsletters we should subscribe to?
2 hours of music every single day. Great way to discover new artists and get inspiration.