Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - Auckland, New Zealand

Ideas Lightbulb Kevin Roberts

Presentation Summary

We’re moving from limits to possibilities. This speech from the AUT – Idealog Innovation Series highlights how FREDA can transform companies, even in difficult times. Kevin talks about his experiences with Toyota, as well as his thoughts on the foundations and tactics for success and growth.

I’ve just been in Japan and Korea. Most of my time was with Toyota leadership revising plans and actions for worsening global economy.

10 common issues

  • Consumer confidence crisis
  • Rising commodity costs
  • Mortgage crisis
  • Lay offs/ Hiring freezes/ Rising unemployment
  • Stock markets under pressure
  • Widening gap between haves and have-nots
  • Continued security worries
  • Environmental pressures
  • Spotty political idea leadership

And, most vital, is Graham Henry the right man?

All of us here are not immune from any of these.

I’ll share with you the hot news from Toyota who grew share in

  • 1990 (Iraq/Kuwait S+L crisis)
  • 2000 ( bubble burst and 9/11)
  • 2008

By embracing Paradox – And/And.

5 Foundations

  • Move slowly and take big leaps
  • Grow steadily and remain paranoid
  • Be frugal and splurge
  • Be simple and complex
  • Set impossible goals without tactics – and surpass them

Based on:

  • Kaizen
  • Genchi Gebutsu (go to the source, see for yourself)
  • 5 Whys


  • Balanced portfolios in all segments
  • Increase share of voice
  • Rev up innovation
  • Quarterly value promotions
  • Reframe to higher emotional benefits

And Execute.

Via FREDA – to NZ.

F is for Focus. If I applied this to New Zealand, I would say the country’s focus – still – is “export or die”. We need to trade with the world to have a future. Fonterra and our films are leading the way at the top end but everyone has the potential to contribute, whether you are a musician, a teacher, a secretary, a nurse, a bricklayer with a better idea – a world-changing idea – about how something can be improved.

R is for re-invention. Today world-class is not enough. We must move from world-class to world-changing. There are 238 countries in the world and several places have made a leap in the last decade to being world class – think of the Shanghai/Mumbai/Dubai equation.

New Zealand is in danger of being stuck in an incremental rut, outperformed and out-competed by more energetic economies. The Edge metaphor we work with at is a way of revolutionizing our relationship with the world, creating local/global multiples that will secure our future.

E is for Execution. Lovemarks is a meta-concept but it works down and dirty. We’ve got clients, non-clients, small businesses and global companies executing Lovemark programs to achieve super-premiums.

I got sent a story this week from Yemen where the leading mobile network, MTN, has implemented a Lovemarks program.

Preference for MTN has grown to 42% of all mobile users – despite the fact that its nearest competitor is 40% cheaper! Lovemarks – mark this out Vincent – is an idea that has taken hold even in Yemen. We need a NZ Lovemarks strategy.

D is for Distribution. Physically, the 3As count for us – the Americas, Asia and Australia. And so does the Middle East. Dubai’s the new black. We need a visible marketing presence in all these places. Airports are a good place to start the messaging. It also means fully exploiting our digital capabilities. From here we can ship to the world effortlessly.

Saatchi & Saatchi started New Zealand’s first digital agency way back with Tom Eslinger, who is now our worldwide interactive creative director.

Andrew Stone and Mike O’Sullivan have just launched Saatchi & Saatchi DGS which brings together Aaron Dustin, Tony Gardner and Matt Shirtcliffe to bring the best digital and direct ideas alive emotionally.

A is for Accountability. The role of business is to make the world a better place. This is accountability – environmentally, economically, socially, culturally. Sustainability is the new imperative for business. In 2008 we launched Saatchi & Saatchi S to help people be sustainable on their terms, not the terms of governments or big corporations.

We’re moving from limits to possibilities, from Green to Blue. We believe in the power of consumers to change the world. We believe sustainability is a catalyst for business growth. No sustainability, no Lovemark.

Swedish DMA Conference – Stockholm


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


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


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…

Read more…

&THEN DMA Conference – Boston


“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…

Read more…

Creative Leadership – Berkeley Uni MBAs


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…

Read more…

Winning In A High Velocity World – YPO


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


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


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.