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Three crucial components to a total brand experience
Grey Matters Podcast Ep4 Ethics Aesthetics Functionality 2000X1333
Grey Matters Podcast Episode 4 – Ethics, Aesthetics, and Functionality

Welcome to the Grey Matters podcast produced by Richards Partners. On this podcast, we explore the grey areas of strategy and design, and how it relates to brands in sectors from agriculture to beauty, to fashion, to food & beverage and everything in between. Each episode will be hosted by Brian Richards, who will be joined by Scott Wallace. Between them is about 60 years of experience in strategy, design and advertising. 

Joining them in this episode is special guest Dr. Paul Winton from Temple Capital Investments. We’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Dr. Paul in strategic work we have been undertaking recently. He helps private equity firms and corporates make investment decisions during times of market disruption. Over the last two years, he has been exploring the consequences of climate change and the changes it will bring. Also featured in this episode will be a member of our very own strategy team, Brya Taylor. She will be sharing some research and findings about how beauty and functionality may indeed be two sides of the same coin.

Today on the Grey Matters podcast, Brian and Scott discuss Ethics, Aesthetics, and Functionality, and how these three crucial components create a total brand experience. We’ll be shouting out some trailblazing New Zealand brands who are nailing these remarkably well, garnering national and international attention and acclaim, and talking about the lessons we can all learn from their successes.

Grey Matters podcast host Brian Richards, New Zealand's foremost brand strategist and winner of the Designers Institute of New Zealand Black Pin.

Scott Wallace,
Grey Matters podcast host Scott Wallace, storyteller and adman with 37 years experience in the advertising industry.

Episode 4 Summary 

In episode 4, we explore how ethics, aesthetics and functionality interact with each other to create the experience of a brand. Good businesses do two out of three of these well. To elevate your offering, every aspect of your service, product, supply chain, messaging, and visual identity must be carefully considered, and thoughtfully designed. How does your brand perform in terms of:


  • Is your product sustainable?
  • Is your supply chain equitable for every producer, supplier, and manufacturer involved?
  • Do you have any certification to verify the truth behind your messages around sustainability?


  • Does your product look and feel beautiful?
  • What kind of reaction—emotional, instinctual, visceral—does your product elicit from your customers?
  • How does your product compare to competitors in the market?


  • Does your product excel in the category? How do the materials, design or manufacturing process contribute to this?
  • Is your product or service intuitive? Does it require a lot of explanation?
  • How can the ethics and aesthetics behind your product contribute to your products’ functionality?

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