Brand New Day

Wednesday, 11 June 2003 - Cambridge, United Kingdom

New Day Wheat Sunset

Presentation Summary

An address to the Women in Business Inaugural Conference, Judge Institute of Management (Judge Business School), University of Cambridge. Business has global credentials to make the world a better place. By creating self-esteem through jobs, choices, opportunities and challenges. By focusing the power of ideas on innovating for the greater good.


It feels great to be back in residence. In a perfect world you’d have Young & Rubicam Advertising’s new Global CEO Ann Fudge addressing you. Great business though is the pursuit of perfection. So today I’m a counterpoint not a role model.

Women in business is not a special interest group. It is a central force. I learnt this in London in the late 1960s when an extraordinary woman set the direction of my working life.

Her name was Mary Quant. Mary who single-handedly invented the mini-skirt. Mary who operationalized the concept “less is more”!

All my bosses at Mary Quant were women before their time. They stood for the future of business. And they became it. Passionate commitment to new ideas. Restless energy. A love of change. A thirst for challenge.

Old male habits die horribly… For women in business they are universal and palpable. The usual suspects ebb and flow… glass ceilings, tokenism, inflexible work hours, pay inequity, macho cultures, toxic bosses, steam room wheeling, golf course dealing, stereotyping and the rest.

Then there is motherhood. The call to men is to make the motherhood/workplace balance workable. Juggling work and child-rearing is a Sisyphean struggle for women. In dual-income families, women still do most of the childcare and housework. Not surprising fewer women than men MBAs get married and have families. Across the Atlantic on Wall Street, 66% of men – MBAs have families, versus 55% of women MBAs.

Business ownership is one area of progress in the US. Over the last decade women-owned businesses have mushroomed. One in eleven women in the States is now a business owner.

Ownership, though, does not add up to influence. Only seven Fortune 500 companies are headed by a female CEO, and less than 16 percent of the officers at these corporations are women.

Progress starts with attitude. Our spirit at Saatchi & Saatchi is Nothing is Impossible. It’s about taking on all-comers with your unique value proposition and winning. It all starts with the right attitude.

My opening swing is lose your name. “Women in Business” leaves you on the back foot. It’s a minority concession. You’ve already capitulated to the bastards who want to grind you down. Make like Marian Jones and explode out of the blocks. I’d go for “Better business through women.” Better because you add the E words empathy, emotion, energy… Better because you add listening, connecting, and embracing to ‘just doing’!

Retro-fitting into testosterone cultures also capitulates. Thankfully the wind is shifting. In developed economies more women are choosing not to compromise or assimilate. Electing to reject not fight male bastions. The Legally Blond generation is seeking out transparent meritocracies and punishing military hierarchies.

Global big boy Wal-mart now faces the biggest discrimination lawsuit in history…. charged with consistently treating its 700,000 female employees as second-class citizens.

I believe in broad trends, not binary platitudes. Women are nourishing, creative, and family focused. And men rational, non-communicative, actualizers. Truth in both of course but there’s too much space between the poles to rely on doing anything with this stereotyping. Too many terrific turncoats.

Tell Springsteen he doesn’t do emotion. Tell Steve Jobs he’s not innovative. In the US retail car business Kitty Van Bortel was top-selling franchise of Subaru for three years running. Tell her she’s not a results-focused rational leader. Who’s the favorite author of 20- and 30 something British women? Not some gushy chick lit writer. Stephen King.

Business culture is changing too – for the better. The incoming tide and rising swell is emotion. Today command and control fails to meet the new expectations of responsiveness and speed. Everyday we have to think faster and more flexibly. We need to juggle more stuff. We have to become experts at judging people fast and making personal connections.

This is the wake up call for boys in big business. The M words – male, malevolence, malfeasance, manipulation, malfunction – belong in the 20th century. The I.E. words will rule the 21st:

  • I for Ideas, Imagination, Intuition, Insight and Inspiration.
  • E for Enchantment, Excitement, Empathy – and enveloping all – EMOTION.

We now accept that human beings run on emotion not reason. Emotion and reason are intertwined, but when they conflict – emotion trumps. Without the fleeting and intense stimulus of emotion, rational thought winds down and slowly disintegrates.

Last year the Nobel Prize in Economics went to Daniel Kahneman and Vernon Smith – largely for showing how the heart can overrule the head in decision making.

Neurologist Donald Calne puts it brilliantly: “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.” More reason, yet more conclusions. More emotion, more action.

I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to work with you, the best clients to inspire you, and the most devoted customers. That there is a sweet spot that combines the passion of your heart with the arithmetic of wallet.

Five years ago I went looking for this zone. At the time I was looking for ideas that could pump life back into brands and business. My goal was to transform Saatchi & Saatchi into the hottest ideas company on the planet.

My start point was an immutable truth. Emotion is an unlimited resource with unlimited power. The destination we created for brands and businesses was Lovemarks. Since the start of our Lovemarks journey in 1998 Saatchi & Saatchi has had five years consecutive growth – recession or no recession.

lovemarks-axis

This Love / Respect Axis is where it all began. Start here with Low Respect and Low Love – classic commodities. Public Utilities. Low value transactions. Essential but going nowhere. Zero brand heat.

Move on to Low Respect and High Love. Fads, trends, infatuations. Last month’s gotta-haves. Next month’s has-beens. Pokemon and shaving patterns into your hair. Britney Spears.

High Respect and Low Love – this is where most major brands are stuck. Functional benefits, solid performance, and always fixed on those “e-r” words. Newer, brighter, stronger, bolder.

High Respect and High Love. Lovemarks. This is where new value lies. Here we can create deep emotional connections with customers by standing above respect and reaching for Love. . Once you accept the power of Love a whole heap of stuff drops neatly into place – or right out of the picture.

The Lovemarker is the second phase of Lovemarks. The creative insight generator. Three heat centres: Mystery, Sensuality, Intimacy.

Mystery to draw together the stories, metaphors and icons that give a relationship its texture. Complexity, layers, revelations, intuition and excitement.

Sensuality as a portal to the emotions. Vision, smell, hearing, touch, taste. This is how we experience the world.

The warm breath of Intimacy. Empathy, commitment and passion. The intimate connections that today no one takes for granted.

  • Lovemarks connect companies, their people and their brands.
  • Lovemarks inspire loyalty beyond reason.
  • Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.

You know a Lovemark instantly.

  • Harley Davidson, definitely. Suzuki? I don’t think so.
  • Here’s an iMac; here’s a Thinkpad. Sorry IBM.
  • Barnes & Noble is a bookmark. Amazon is a Lovemark;

Our mega- mega client Toyota got Lovemarks when we inverted a simple question. Instead of asking how much metal did you move, we asked how much does the metal move you?

Women are a huge part of why Lovemarks will succeed. In the US women influence or control 81 percent of all consumer purchase decisions. Women control about 80% of household spending and, using their own resources, make up 47% of investors. Women buy 81% of all products and services, buy 75% of all over-the-counter medications, make 81% of retail purchases, and buy 82% of groceries.

This is a new era for feminine power. Deep emotional connections are where its at and every company has to be up for it. US bizmag FastCompany just ranked emotional connections number one out of ten corporate challenges. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart knows it. Writing the foreword to an April Judge Insitute survey on corporate reputation factors, he registers his surprise at the low ranking by CEOs of ’emotional connections’.

Through mystery, sensuality and intimacy, Lovemarks connect. They locate relevance, legitimize identity, touch conscience, excite passion, breathe optimism and support inclusion. Lovemarks matter because they improve life.

Call me a pathological optimist. That is what I am. I believe we can enter a new Age of Inclusion and that enterprise-driven people can deliver this age.

Business has global credentials to make the world a better place for everyone:

  • By creating self-esteem through jobs, choices, opportunities and challenges.
  • By focusing the power of ideas on innovating for the greater good.

I grew up in the industrial Northwest of England with no money, few options, surrounded by economic and social unrest. I’ve seen and felt self-esteem fill hearts and level heads. Build self-esteem through the power of business and we can unleash the power of one by a factor of 6.5 billion.

The playmaker in improving lives is innovation not invention. Invention is about something new. It only becomes an innovation when it changes the life of the customer or the world in which the customer experiences things.

Innovating to transform lives is the grand challenge and great opportunity for companies. The challenge to start a brand new day. The opportunity to create and become a Lovemark.

A rising Lovemark has just won the Third Saatchi & Saatchi Innovation in Communication Award. The Light Up the World Foundation winner is a simple but revolutionary technology that can light up an entire rural village with less energy than you need to power a 100-watt bulb.

The Third Award brought together life changing innovations from around the world – including artificial vision for the blind and surgical implants that help paraplegics stand up and walk.

Another finalist was a group of MIT students who have developed a portable library in the form of a classroom projector. Light Up The World are now talking to the students about a partnership between their innovations to make an even bigger difference to developing countries.

Gender equity in developing countries is a catalytic priority. Painter Willem de Kooning once said “The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.” Well innovation gives time back. Take our mega client Procter & Gamble. Their core equity is touch lives; improve life. Their Inspirational Dream is to make every day a little better by building brands that people love.

We partner P&G with Lovemarks like Tide and Pampers, and other products that free women from everyday hassle around washing and changing. We partner with Tylenol for pain relief. And with Olay – Lovemarks that turn problem into delight.

P&G are relentless innovators. The first thing they do in developing markets is go door to door and talk to people about what their lives are like… things like family, sanitation, nourishment. Then they work out how their vast array of brands and technologies can make a difference? But it starts with listening. And very simple questions. How can you make life a bit better, a bit simpler, a bit happier.

The creator of the Age of Inclusion is diversity. Not diversity driven by a quota. Not because it’s PC. Diversity as competitive advantage. As strategy. Because mixing different dynamics turns investments into returns and dreams into reality.

Diversity of age, gender, religion, nationality, culture will always stimulate better ideas than any homogeneous group. Saatchi & Saatchi’s focus is to create and perpetuate Lovemarks through the power of ideas. We unleash that power with prejudice for diversity. It enriches us on every level.

We have a large number of senior women in our organization. From creative and media directors through to managing directors. It’s not about quotas. It’s about the right fit for the job. Someone who advances is restless, competitive, passionate, honest, courageous and emotionally self-managing.

This skill set should sound real familiar to this audience. To build an Age of Inclusion, this new century set needs to play at center in global business – and not simply as substitute, whistle blower, or ego masseuse.

A quote in Anita Roddick’s office says “A woman in advancing old age is unstoppable by any earthly force.” Half right. Because age is irrelevant. Here’s five ideas to take you higher, faster:

  • Don’t get hung up on management, doing things right, or leadership, doing the right things. I’m not in my job to lead. Or to manage. My role as CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi is to inspire my people. Peak Performance is about inspiration. Inspiration turns up the heat. Become an Inspirational Player – and you will be unstoppable.
  • Have an Inspirational Dream. For yourself. your family, your business. Dreams emerge from our deepest emotions. Dreams create action. Action inspires dreams. Bill Gates didn’t change the world with a business plan, a goal, even a vision. He sat in the back of a car and dreamed of a PC on everybody’s desk. A dream gives a sense that you’re part of something truly exciting. The best Inspirational Dreams reach for a better world. I ask people everywhere whether they’d rather work for a company that is liked or loved. 100% go for love. Love inspires Peak Performance.
  • Pursue Failure. You won’t know your limits till you crash up against them. As Ice Hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky once said “you miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.” When I took over as CEO at Saatchi & Saatchi I was 47, I’d never worked in advertising before and we were facing bankruptcy. Five years on we’re No.1 in the world creatively, and we’re making real bucks. Just remember, a genius is a person who makes the same mistake. Once.
  • Live and breathe Edge. Innovation is born on the edge – where the control of the centre is weakest and the energy of the local most vital. I take edge literally. To shake off conventions and shake out new ideas we have to be edge. My home is the world’s edge – physically and metaphorically. First country to give women the vote. A century later women have all the top jobs. The Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Governor-General, Attorney-General and the CEOs of the biggest company and bank are all women. These days Kiwi guys just play rugby.
  • Finally, take love into the heart of business. When I first said the “L” word in public three years ago, everyone squirmed. Now serious business people say Love without blushing. Pearl Bailey once said what the world really needs is more love and less paperwork. And who can argue with that? Through love, business can be the difference.

Swedish DMA Conference – Stockholm

Speech

Kevin Roberts closed day one of the Swedish Direct Marketing Association (SWEDMA), an industry and trade association for those that produce or use direct marketing in Sweden. He presents the power of ideas in the Age of Now with four ideas to help Big Data and BIG LOVE come together.

Winning from the Edge – Auckland

Speech

A public event held at University of Auckland presented by The Creative Thinking Project. Kevin Roberts knows all about the business of creativity. As a senior leader in international ideas company Saatchi & Saatchi, and Honorary Professor of Business and Innovation at the University of Auckland Business School, he has many opportunities to see the relationship between creativity and innovation play out in business and learning contexts. He has called creativity the “only unreasonable power” in business. He argues that while other business metrics (quality, price, value, systems) are easily delineated, creativity has almost unlimited potential to differentiate a product or service. The terms ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms are not synonymous – so what differentiates them? What roles do creativity and innovation play in the creative process? Do those roles change depending on the discipline, industry or situation?

Leading for Tomorrow and Beyond – Porto

Speech

I’m going to talk about the future of leadership, the defining difference between success and failure. Leadership hasn’t changed much in 5000 years, because it is about human nature. It is about engaging emotional drivers. As ESPN Coach of the Century Vince Lombardi said: “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” What has changed…

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&THEN DMA Conference – Boston

Speech

“Big Data, Meet Big Love” We live in a Connected World. We live in a Connected World. A world where the number of mobile devices exceeds the number of people. Where machines talk back to people and where cars learn to drive themselves. Where Reason meets Emotion, and Big Data meets Big Love. And at…

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Creative Leadership – Berkeley Uni MBAs

Speech

Creative Leadership: A Supercharged Approach To Success In Today’s Turbulent Environments Leading a business is about winning, and winning has got tougher because we live in a VUCA world. VUCA RAP SUPERVUCA delivers a brave “now” world, a real-time, on-demand, see-through Age of Now—a thriving eco-system of connectivity, community, and conversation. ERA OF NEW AGE OF…

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Winning In A High Velocity World – YPO

Speech

Kevin Roberts was the special guest speaker at the YPO-WPO Growing Your Business Program 2015 held at the London Business School. YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of chief executives connected around the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea Exchange™.

Emerging Trends in Retailing: Emotionally Connecting with Shoppers

Speech

Kevin Roberts’ keynote on ‘The Power of Emotion’ at the fourteenth annual Emerging Trends in Retailing Conference. Held at the University of Arkansas by the Center for Retailing Excellence within the Sam M. Walton College of Business, the conference theme was ‘Emotionally Connecting With Shoppers’ and focused on the importance of emotionally connecting with shoppers to drive sales and deliver outstanding business results for brands and retailers.

Winning in the Age of Now – ESOMAR

Speech

Kevin Roberts returns to ESOMAR ‘What Inspires?’ Congress 2014 with an optimistic message about the role of Big Love amidst a sea of Big Data. Winning remains the #1 imperative of business, but in this hyper-connected and digitally enabled world, “winning” has a much broader meaning than coming first or beating expectations. Ideas, velocity and the ability to emotionally inspire people to participate in your brand conversation are at the heart of the new domain of creative leadership.