The decision I made to come to Saatchi & Saatchi in 1997 opened up the most exciting and exhilarating time of my life. Before that I had always been a client of advertising agencies. Now I have joined the other side, never to leave - and I love the challenge developing cut-through businesses, brands and reputations.
My first real job was in London with Mary Quant, the design brand of the sixties. My wife Ro and I worked with Mary as she added style and colour to one of the most fabulous decades of the last millennium. I went on to take the stuff I had learnt about branding to some of the best known and highly regarded companies in the world. Gillette
, Procter & Gamble, Pepsi
and Lion Breweries
in New Zealand and Australia.
And then came Saatchi & Saatchi.
Great companies are built on great ideas and great brands. Diet Pepsi was a great idea. I drink three or four a day, every day. Great brands infiltrate your life and your identity. It's that life-long love affair thing again. That's why I still shave with a Gillette Sensor and will fight anyone for the last Steinlager in the fridge.
I have never believed that extraordinary results come from ordinary actions so I am attracted by extremes. I demonstrated the point when my Canadian Pepsi Team blew away Coke to become number one in the market. We celebrated by machine-gunning a Coke vending machine on stage at a conference. Risky? Yes. Stupid? Possibly. Memorable, inspiring? You bet.
But the most provocative act of my life was to move to the edge of the earth and settle in New Zealand. I love New Zealand. It has been my home since 1989 and the country where Ro and I have chosen to bring up our children Ben, Rebecca and Dan.
It's inspiring living on the edge. It's about energy, gutsy individualism and great ideas. It's an environment that puts pressure on delivering results but also gives time for thought and meditation.
I have been passionately involved with New Zealand Rugby both as a Board member of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union and as a supporter of the game at every level. New Zealand's national rugby team the All Blacks are the most exciting team in one of the most exciting games around.
Being part of a team has always been big in my life. In business I've always thought of myself as a coach, not a manager, and I've been able to take this attitude into every area of my life (my kids make sure of that!).
I love helping to bring out the best in young people, especially in my home towns. I'm a proud supporter of the InspirUs
program at Lancaster Royal Grammer School. At Lancaster University Management School, I bring MBAs into my boardroom, sharing everything with them, and they get to shape corporate decision-making in the real world
I have been personally humbled by the coaching and mentoring I have done with the Turn Your Life Around Trust in Auckland. I love watching talented kids turn their lives around and transform draining negativism into positive energy and action. This is the human spirit at its finest.
I now spend much of my time traveling the world: Auckland, New York, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, Beirut, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, London. You name it, I've probably touched down there some time in the last three years. Wherever I am my job remains the same: to help make Saatchi & Saatchi the hottest ideas company on the planet.
The role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone. This belief is the wellspring for my commitment to Sustainable Enterprise, which links directly to the inspirational power of Peak Performance.
I have fostered Peak Performance as the focus of my work. I'm part of a research team that has developed the theory about Peak Performing Organizations and how to create them based on work with some of the greatest sporting teams in the world. Peak Performance and sustainability are a big part of my work with students, especially at the schools where I am an Honorary Professor – Lancaster University, the University of Auckland, and the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences.
Saatchi & Saatchi's focus is to fill the world with Lovemarks – an idea that reinvents brands. I am passionate about the new territory Lovemarks open up. Everyone I have talked to gets the idea instantly. Lovemarks are owned by the people that love them - not by companies or marketers. Great brands have passed their destiny over to The Consumer. "Like" is not enough, "admire" won't cut it. Lovemarks infuse mystery, sensuality and intimacy to win loyalty beyond reason.
In the always-on Age of Now, the dynamic magic of sight, sound and motion - sisomo - gives us the power to bring our Lovemarks to life.
Saatchi & Saatchi is part of Publicis Groupe SA, the world's third largest communications group. This makes us even stronger. We're positioned for growth and - in an increasingly tough world - to use the power of our ideas to make a real difference.