Interview with James Byrne

This week we meet James Byrne, Growth & Reputation Director at Dragon Rouge - an independent brand agency specialising in brand strategy, design and experience. 

What’s your golden rule?

For every single thing you do, imagine you are the person on the receiving end of what you are doing.

Who has been your biggest influence?

Multiple, so hard to narrow down. I’ve taken on bits of each and made my own, but they’ve been essential to my development. But of all of them, I would say Phil Langford, who was my Managing Director/Executive Strategy Director at bluemarlin. He was the one who really made me love what I do, and he knew how to have a lot of fun doing it too, with a great sense of humour.

What is your most hated business expression?

I’ve always found the phrase ‘tissue session’ quite awkward, especially in the context of a global pandemic.

What’s the smartest business idea you’ve ever had?

Well the smartest one is a secret as it contributes to my ongoing success, but the second smartest one possibly was to open up a client we had been pursuing for a long time to no avail. As the clients travelled regularly between their European and American hubs, we created a mailer using a global electricity plug adaptor around the idea of ‘sharing something with you that you might actually need’ and connecting with global audiences. It worked and finally we had an in with that elusive client.

Which leader do you admire most and why?

Phil Jackson, the basketball coach. Granted, he had some of the best talent of all time working for him. But you still have to keep them all working together and you still have to go out there and win every time. I like that he believed in his methods – some more traditional, some more leftfield, and took them with him wherever he went. Larry Brown comes a close second.

What’s your favourite word?

I’m currently learning Japanese and there are some absolute beauties. Natuskashī means sweet memory/ reminisce – or the smile that emerges on your face when you look back fondly. Kokonoka sounds nice too but that just means ‘ninth day of the month.’ 

Tell us a secret

I don’t have any bone/cartilage in my nose. So I can squish it up against my cheeks. That comes in handy as a sales person when you’re constantly getting the door slammed in your face.




Enjoy this? Get more.

Our monthly newsletter, The Edit, curates the very best of our latest content including articles, podcasts, video.

6 + 14 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Become a member

Not a member yet?

Now it's time for you and your team to get involved. Get access to world-class events, exclusive publications, professional development, partner discounts and the chance to grow your network.