Crow Flock

Everyone at The Crow Flies has held client and agency roles. It’s a unique blend that allows us to be both commercial and creative problem solvers. And with Crow, there are no “Pitch Teams”.  We love building brands. We love working with our clients. Who you see is who you get!

Projects are led by:

David Preston
David is Founder of The Crow Flies. With almost 30 years of client & agency experience across strategy, brand management, research, innovation and commercial roles, operating at Board / Director level for many of those. David brings a depth of experience, breadth of knowledge, gravitas and technical expertise to his clients as well as strong commercial appreciation of the challenges. David’s brand building specialisms lie where disciplines overlap: finding creatively springy insights for innovation; defining a brand strategy that can be turned into an impactful brand plan and always bringing the recommendations back to commercially impactful plans – all while building strong stakeholder alignment.  David has been responsible for transformational and award-winning brand strategies, communication campaigns and also a brand launch described by Marketing Magazine as “the best since sliced bread“.  A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, David is also a member of the Association of Qualitative Research and the Market Research Society. He is a judge for the Beer and Cider Marketing Awards and the BOOM Awards (Best Of Organic Market). Outside Crow, he is a writer, penning thoughts on topics as wide ranging as branding (Crow blogs appear on this website), poetry and beer. He is a member of The British Guild of Beer Writers 

Gael Laurie
Gael Laurie is Brand Building Director at The Crow Flies. An accomplished Senior Global Marketer with a wealth of experience on leading FMCG brands, as well as giving smaller brands a strong platform for growth, through her agency experience. Gael has an inbuilt passion to get to the heart of the brand, to dissect all the elements and to build them back up, to develop a clear brand positioning and to distil complex issues to drive clear priorities, deliver sustainable growth and gain commercial buy in. Through her career, she has launched award winning NPD, driven double digit growth in stagnant markets and reframed brands’ positioning, building on consumer, category and macro trends. By her own admission, her natural nosy nature into drivers of people’s behaviours, fuels her continued inquisitiveness of the relationship between brands and consumers. Her creative energy is also fuelled in her spare time by engaging in the arts across many forms, including dance (mainly watching these days!), design and theatre.


Projects are supported by:

Steve Mitchell
Artist and illustrator, Steve Mitchell, has been providing creative visuals for The Crow Flies since we started. Bringing an illustration-led approach to strategic communication briefs, Steve is a strong believer in connecting with audiences through the picture-book simplicity and humour we all grew up with in our first rich experiences of storytelling and shared imagination. He creates ‘really useful pictures’ for a breadth of businesses, whilst also producing a prolific print output under the name INKY CONDITIONS; exhibiting and selling worded pictures and original ink drawings at galleries and arts fairs. Steve’s career background in senior brands marketing and innovation roles means each visualisation project is met with a clear understanding of client needs.


Sigourney Whitesel
Sigourney has a Masters in Visual Communication. She has worked in client businesses in fashion and FMCG, on both smaller, challenger brands and large brand leaders to bring their ideas to life through photography, illustration and graphics. In agencies, she has worked on brands as diverse as Barclays, HSBC, Logic, Nordic Spirit and Alpro. Happiest with a pen and drawing pad in hand, trying to find time to illustrate ideas, Sigourney also has a love for lifestyle and documentary photography.


Marty Jessup
With a BA in Fine Art Painting and professional experience stretching from the BBC and Time Out to advertising and design agencies, Marty is both a traditional fine artist and a digital artist. With his fine art talent, he runs and teaches life drawing classes, takes commissions and creates figurative art, caricatures and cartoons. With his digital wizardry, Marty has deep strength and experience in concept visualisation, presentation graphics and image manipulation. Bringing these two worlds together with versatility and creativity is where Marty really excels.



Dan Boustead
Dan has over a decade’s experience within field management, much of it with his own company, Mojo Fieldwork, and has worked with The Crow Flies since we kicked off. He’s worked on almost every project imaginable along with some that you’d never even think were possible (or plausible!). With experience across a wide range of industry sectors Dan brings a level of recruitment knowledge that is invaluable to even the most challenging projects. His professional, adaptable and flexible attitude is essential to ensure you get the right people arriving at the right place at the right time for your research. The end result is that with Dan on the Crow team, our clients don’t have to worry about their research recruitment.


Richard Clark
Richard has over 25 years of market research experience, on both the client and agency sides. He has expertise in qualitative and quantitative methods, has run many projects around the world, and provides training for both the MRS and AQR.  Richard has particular knowledge of online research; he was an early adopter and developer of online surveys – so early in fact, that many clients told him that these new-fangled online surveys would never work!  He was also a pioneer of online qualitative research, creating a software platform which is widely used today. In 2019, Richard developed a new technique, using Artificial Intelligence, to enable exploratory qualitative research to be undertaken via online surveys


Pete Lippitt
Pete describes himself as a ’21st-century creative all-rounder’. It’s true enough, having clocked up over 10,000 hours as a graphic designer, he understands how visualisation needs to work in the world today – and how emotion and creative impact act as critical recall mechanisms for the category or brand you create. Pete designs for print, web, brand ID and visualisation, logos, social media, infographics, presentation design, video and motion graphics. Pete has his own Birmingham based design business as well as acting as creative consultant for the flock. He’s also an active proponent of great food and in particular regional ‘proper food’, about which he writes.