Meet the Mentors: Giles Etherington

23 January 2024

Giles Etherington, founder of Brand Satellite, boasts an impressive three-stage career in the creative world.

He began with an 11-year stint at J. Walter Thompson, crafting award-winning campaigns for iconic brands. His journey continued as a creative nomad, collaborating across Europe, and culminated in Brand Satellite, where he leverages his expertise to empower startups and small businesses to think, look, and act like major brands. To top it all off, he has been a Creative Edinburgh mentor for almost seven years

Why did you choose to become a Creative Edinburgh mentor?

I love giving people the clarity, confidence and courage to grow a successful business. It’s what I do for a living. I know from experience what it is like to start and grow a business, so the more I can help others with the challenges, the better.

Could you share a memorable moment from your mentorship journey that reflects the uniqueness of your experience?

I remember talking to someone who was under a lot of pressure from their partner to start making money or get a ‘proper job’ again. She walked into the room with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She was struggling to find her niche and understand her uniqueness. I helped her to understand not to compete with her competitors at their game but to value what she brings to the table. She left the session bouncing out of the room. She is now, years later, loving what she does. Unbeknown to her, she helped me to develop my own brand, which I now describe as ‘helping small business owners feel two inches taller about their businesses’.

How have you seen the programme contribute to the artistic growth of those participating? Can you give an example?

I can only talk about the mentees I have worked with. As I mentioned, mentoring gives mentees the clarity, confidence and courage to go out there and pursue their dreams. I have had the pleasure of watching many mentees transform into confident business owners. They are not all doing what they were doing, but the program has helped them along the journey to finding the right thing.

What have you learned in the process of mentoring?

I have learned that everything you do and everyone you meet is a learning experience. I have learned as much about me and my self-development as I have about helping others. I have learned that being a mentor is just as much a selfish thing as it is selfless. It is extremely fulfilling using your experience to help others. I am still learning how to be a great mentor. Great mentors coax the best out of their mentees. I am still learning not to jump in and give advice.

What elements of the programme do you think prove valuable for emerging artists and creatives?

The programme gives emerging artists and creatives the opportunity to think about their business. We all get too busy with the ‘doing’ that we don’t spend enough time thinking strategically about where we want to go. And it gives mentees the opportunity to get an extremely valuable external perspective on their business. I have a favourite saying I use all the time: ‘When you are inside the jar, you can’t read the label’. This applies to nearly every small business owner I know.

Looking ahead, what do you hope to achieve through being a Creative Edinburgh mentor?

My job and my role as a mentor are the same thing – to help small businesses become as successful as possible. All small business owners need as much help as they can get. The mentees on this program are the smart ones, they are asking for that help! I hope to continue helping fledgling creative businesses for as long as you will have me.

Have you got any exciting projects/news that you would like to share with the community?

Ooo! Don't get me started! I have just launched the 28-Day Brand Launchpad., the only group brand creation programme in the UK, giving small purpose-driven business owners the clarity, confidence, and courage they need to follow their purpose and grow a successful and profitable business.

It revolutionises the traditional brand creation process by condensing it into a 28-day intensive journey. This novel approach reimagines how brands are conceived, developed, and launched, making it more agile and accessible to a wider range of entrepreneurs and small businesses.


The Creative Edinburgh Mentoring Programme is open for applications until January 30 2024. Apply here.