Welcome to Principia, the world’s leading strategic consultancy specialising in brand-led transformation for knowledge-led businesses.

Knowledge-led businesses are led by consultants, lawyers, scientists, architects, engineers, designers and even artists. They come in many shapes and sizes but they have one thing in common — their only source of sustainable competitive advantage is what they stand for — their reputation — their brand.
Knowledge-led businesses with strong brands are 2-3 times more profitable than their peers.
Brand-led transformation is about much more than logos — we’ll work with you to define a transformational brand vision that ignites your strategy, aligns leaders, engages teams, and inspires actions to drive transformation.
Brand-led transformation harnesses the ability of inspirational brand ideas to capture hearts as well as minds — both inside and outside the organisation — in ways that strategy by spreadsheet can’t. Done this way, your brand will become a powerful driver of growth — not just a veneer.

We understand your world.

Knowledge-led businesses can be tough to navigate — but we know how — we’ve worked with hundreds of them. From huge, global firms operating across every continent and every major economy, to smaller, boutiques, sometimes operating from a single location.

We use brand for transformation — not for decoration.

OUR VISION

About

Ian Stephens

Founder & CEO

Ian is Principia’s Founder and CEO. He is a branding specialist with an extensive track record of advising major corporations including Unilever, Bank of America and Walmart and some of the world’s most prestigious international knowledge-led businesses across a range of sectors including law, consulting, innovation and architecture.

A strategist by background, Ian leads all of Principia’s client engagements, working with the firm’s team of consultants and designers to deliver projects from research and brand strategy development through to design, messaging and implementation of key applications.

His client experience in the knowledge-led services sector includes law firms: Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Covington, Debevoise, Linklaters, Weil and White & Case; management consulting firms: PWC, KPMG and PA Consulting and architectural firms: Arup and Perkins Eastman.

His work has taken him all around the world’s commercial and money centres interviewing buyers of knowledge-led services at FTSE and Fortune 100 companies and advising partners on how to position their firms to gain long-term competitive advantage.

Ian’s clients have commented that his stand-out strength is in his ability to “step up in front of a room full of senior partners and lead them through a meaningful discussion on branding for their firm” and “engage even the most sceptical partners”. His approach is said to be “thoughtful and jargon-free and highly focused on developing consensus.

Recognised as a global leader in his field, Ian frequently writes and comments on branding issues for major publications and institutions. He is also regarded as a strong public speaker; once sharing a conference platform with President Bill Clinton (although to be honest the President almost certainly wasn’t aware he was sharing it with Ian!) and is also frequently invited to make keynote speeches and presentations at firms’ annual retreats on the subject of branding and innovation.

Prior to founding Principia, Ian was Managing Partner of Saffron Brand Consultants from 2006 to 2016 and Principal of Wolff Olins from 1999 to 2006.

Where We've Worked

Our experience working with knowledge-led businesses over the last 20 years has taken us to all the places you might expect and some that you might not. We’re global in our outlook and have been engaged by many international firms headquartered in both the US and Europe in just about equal measure. We’ve conducted work on the ground in the following cities:

New York / London / Paris / Hong Kong / Chicago / Beijing / Washington / Sydney / Atlanta / Sao Paulo / Miami / Frankfurt / San Francisco / Johannesburg / Munich / Rome / Madrid / Copenhagen / Melbourne / Dubai / Shanghai / Boston / Philadelphia / Los Angeles / Brussels / Stockholm / Mumbai