Working with what you have

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*


A friend of mine sent me an article on Captain Richard de Crespigny and the Singapore to Sydney ‘incident’ on Qantas flight A380 QF32. Much has been written about the incident since it occurred on 4 November 2010, but I had resisted reading anything more about it. I knew de Crespigny had written a well-received book called QF32 and it was a great story from a brand perspective. However I’m a nervous flyer (due to some scary flights) and since I didn’t want to know too much about the incident and what could go wrong, I had held off on reading QF32…until now.

Over the weekend I put aside my fears and read it. And while QF32 has lots of background on de Crespigny’s flying credentials and experience, and how Qantas is renowned for its safety record, what stood out for me was how de Crespigny faced the aftermath of the engine 2 explosion. The explosion sent shrapnel through the wing and fuselage, “creating chaos as vital flight systems and back-ups were destroyed or degraded”(QF32). The aircraft had 469 people on board.

But rather than concentrate on what he didn’t have, de Crespigny focused on what he did. He looked for the few things he had to work with rather than what he did not have. This was such a good lesson. While most of us do not fly aircraft or have to make life or death decisions every day, the lesson of working with what you have is an important one. Any start-up brand going through tough times needs to utilise what they have and not worry about what they don’t have.

De Crespigny looked for the few things he had to work with rather than what he did not have.

We all have something to work with and we all have choices. Even when it seems all is lost and there is nothing we can do. When de Crespigny needed to focus and not let the stress take over, he took a deep breath and got on with it. He ensured that everyone kept calm —including himself! The other thing de Crespigny did was trust the people behind the Qantas brand. He knew how they reacted in a crisis and that they had his back. He knew that the Crisis Management team would be meeting and getting on with handling other aspects of the situation for the passengers and the crew. He could do his job, while the rest of the team did theirs.

QF32 is a must read—for everyone in business!

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: or +61 419 888 468.


About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books:; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.