BJ Cunningham is a successful entrepreneur and acknowledged thought-leader in the field of branding, brand marketing and communications with a unique challenging, thought-provoking and charismatic style of presentation.
BJ’s persistence and ability to overcome adversity has led him to create a successful shoe brand and become a highly regarded business consultant. Following the completion of degrees in Economics & Social History and 3-dimensional design, BJ embarked on his first entrepreneurial project, The Karma Connection, which imported classic cars and Harley Davidsons from LA to London. This stopped abruptly when the market collapsed. He lost everything except his overdraft. He took his considerable debt and created DEATH™ Cigarettes. His Enlightened Tobacco Company PLC, which he describes as a vertical learning curve, threatening to overturn the tobacco industry and truly open up Europe for the consumer.
His verve and irreverent reputation led him on to establish an Integrated Brand Marketing agency built upon his experience in business and working with clients as winning business as diverse as Volkswagen and Canon. He successfully sold the Agency after three years in August 2001 and is now channelling his energy into his latest venture – taking his corporate learning into the SME market.
BJ is a visiting Professor at Brighton University, serves on the council of Business Superbrands and travels the world giving inspiring keynote presentations. He believes that while customers are magnetised towards ‘need’ over ‘want’ in the wake of recession, genuine premium will still remain resilient: “Loyalty in business is a long-term relationship, discounting is little more than a one-night stand.” BJ’s message is that a brand is a promise, not a logo; it’s about depth, not awareness. A business must know what it stands for, say it with clarity and do what it says.