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PROFILE: Mark Allatt - Global Brand Director, Deloitte

To say that Mark Allatt, global brand director at professional services firm Deloitte, is larger than life is perhaps, a rather obvious observation. And yet, at the same time, it is utterly appropriate in numerous ways. At about 6'8, he towers over even the tallest journalist, talks rapidly but authoritatively and highly coherently, and has an ebullient presence and personality that you can feel almost before he even enters the room.

Allatt is also clearly an enthusiast – about Deloitte, about branding, about politics and, most unusually, about steam engines. He is currently leading a project to scratch-build a full size, working replica of a long-scrapped class of express locomotive. As anyone who knows anything about engineering will tell you, this is an enormous undertaking, but Allatt's team have so far raised over £2.5 million and the project is nearing completion. “We're aiming to have the first runs on the main line by autumn 2008,” he proudly booms. Although Allatt is clear that he has had little involvement in the practical hands-on aspects of the project, it seems likely that the success achieved to date has come through sheer force of his personality alone.

The parallels between this project, and the ongoing branding programme that Allatt has led at Deloitte over the last five years may not be immediately apparent, but there is some common ground. When he arrived at the firm in December 2001, its brand was ill-defined, misunderstood, and both poorly managed and communicated. As a result, it was providing limited leverage towards the company's objective of working with some of the world's most powerful organisations.