Despite being a world-travelled professional and by all accounts a hugely successful brand strategy consultant, Ian Latham remains incredibly modest about his achievements. When completing his biography for our school’s alumni page, he wrote of his contemporaries ‘I’m in awe of them. I’m not in that company at all.’ The facts would attest to the contrary.
At a young age, Latham was becoming a very successful copy writer and, not for lack of talent, decided to drop out of Auckland University. He has since described this as ‘one of those big dumb decisions we make when we think we know everything.’ Despite not finishing his degree, he would go on to build a great life for himself and his family.
He began his advertising career with the New Zealand firm Ogilvy & Mather. This job took him all around the world, working in Sydney, Milan, Vienna, Atlanta and New York. Having been in senior management positions (senior vice president and executive creative director) and been a member of the company’s Creative Council, Ian was able to work personally with the company’s co-founder David Ogilvy. He also had the important job of working on the first anti-AIDS advertising financed by the federal government of the USA in 1994. While working at Ogilvy & Mather, he was consulted as an expert source in an article about effective and safe advertising in The New Yorker.
After leaving Ogilvy & Mather, Ian set out to establish his own brand consulting firm. Thus began Latham & Company, a business which helps brands to build or rebuild their image and connect with their target customers. Established in 2001, the company focuses on brand strategy and marketing consultation. According to the Latham & Company website, Ian’s personal areas of expertise include ‘strategy development and planning, corporate positioning, travel, health care, higher education, financial marketing, entrepreneurial and emerging businesses, and the marketing and positioning of upscale brands.’ This extensive list of skills has been accumulated over a long and successful career.
In addition to being a brilliant advertising consultant, Latham is also in touch with his rural roots. At one point, he had 20 black Angus cows. He also keeps horses. His wife Susan is a garden designer, and his daughter Clare is working in London as an actress. He has also developed a love of cricket, despite being (in his words) ‘afraid of the ball’ when he was at school.