Entrepreneur, Founder of Death Cigarettes and Keynote Speaker
Whilst still a teenager BJ Cunningham started his first enterprise, importing classic cars and Harley Davidsons from LA to London. When the market collapsed, he used his considerable debt to launch DEATH Cigarettes positioned as ‘The Honest Smoke’.
It gained such a foothold that BJ found himself taking on the combined might of the industry in the European Court of Justice. Then, with a growing reputation for challenging norms, BJ set up a brand marketing agency and built a client list including Volkswagen, B&O and Nokia.
Having sold the company and proved his credentials as a true serial entrepreneur, he and his wife created and ran the luxury shoe designer Georgina Goodman until its acquisition by venture capitalists.
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. With wonderfully engaging examples, he shows that customers want to understand the authentic soul of the organisation and become part of your community.
In his presentations, BJ Cunningham shows how authentic branding is vital to build and retain customer loyalty. On the stage, BJ uses the DEATH brand as a case study to illustrate the power of provocation and how to flip a conservative market.
His speaking topics include:
– The DEATH brand: the power of provocation & how to flip a conservative market
– Deepening the customer relationship
– Creating a powerful vision
– Marrying internal culture, market position, and vision
– Telling the truth
“Having BJ recount his life experiences felt like an energising spark showing you the door to your dreams saying ‘go for it.’"
— Richmond Events
"This is the second time I have engaged BJ and he does not disappoint! His inspirational and motivational presentation was right on the button, he managed to capture the mood of the meeting and use his experience to illustrate the businesses advantage. He is an honest presenter and does not pull punches. He is down to earth and has good stories to tell which can be related to business practice. He is an inspiration and an audience pleaser, highly recommended if you need a witty, inspirational speaker for your event."