Why BigBear?
Strategic Marketing Consultancy

Oh… And Why The Bear?

A frequent question is “Why did you call your company BigBear Communications and what is the polar bear all about?” A fair question.

When the company was established in 1998, we were refurbishing a house in Buckinghamshire. This involved basically tearing the guts out of the place and replacing everything – plaster, heat, light, electricity, plumbing, drains, windows, garden, etc. etc.

Because the building itself was not habitable, we lived in a mobile home that we put in the back garden, affectionately dubbed The Beige Box. To be honest, there wasn’t much in the way of diversion in the Beige Box save for a small portable TV set and the fridge.

To stave off boredom as much as anything else, David entered the Pharmaceutical Times Marketeer of the Year competition. This involved writing a 100-page launch plan for three fictional HRT products and then presenting it with snazzy graphics to an audience of the pharma industry great-and-good.

David won. Every award except the one for PR (because his plan didn’t call for it thereby meaning that the award sponsored by a well-known PR Agency went to somebody else! Ah, but what to do with the winnings (which were substantial)?

Obviously the new house needed new double glazing. The winnings would take care of that. And then it was David’s birthday…

To celebrate, we met up with a group of friends at a nice restaurant on the edge of the Chiltern Hills that was famous for its draft champagne (although they stopped doing it 25 years ago) and its sculptures. The couple who own the restaurant – The Sir Charles Napier – divide their responsibilities by her running the place and him festooning it with works of art that he either sells or uses to gain commissions (he has done a lot of civic work, including Porridge - the famous marble statue of a brown bear at the Bicester Village shopping outlet).

As the aperitifs flowed, David noticed this beautiful statue of a polar bear carved in white Carrara marble – from whence Michaelangelo’s David was hewn. It was so smooth and tactile that no one could keep their hands off it. Stroking the bear was somehow calming, life-affirming even. Bolstered by the pre-dinner champagne and with a rough figure in mind, David asked how much the bear would cost. The answer was exactly half the figure. Bargain!

David then placed 50% of the cost as a down-payment with a view to picking the bear up 3 months later when the building work was complete (after all, the bear was heavy and might have up-ended the Beige Box). The artist was delighted as he had only completed it the day before and wanted to exhibit it for commissions.

The bear was finally delivered (it took three people to lift it in and out of the car) and placed in the new house. Which didn’t have any double-glazing; that came later. And the bear was named Big Bear.

So, when the company was being named, rather than call it PharmaDull Consulting or DJI Strategic Consultancy, it was named after the bear. And since we advise clients on branding strategy, don’t you think we should lead by example….

After all, people do ask!