The Modern Marketplace

Tuesday, 1 November 2005 - LIbson, Madrid, Mexico and Milan

Digital World

Presentation Summary

An address to the Worldwide Marketing & Sales Forum: A message so important it had to be shared four times. Ten ideas for winning in the contemporary marketplace, and a survival guide for the new Consumer Republic.

Business today is fully global and intensely local. Ferociously competitive. Brutal towards failure. Cheering for success.

I’d like to share 10 ideas to win in the global marketplace. Winning consistently is a challenge.

First some positioning across time.

In the 20th century brands made a difference. That was before brands began to look like bad wallpaper, That was before power shifted to consumers.

Power left manufacturers in the 80s, swept through media in the 90s, visited retailers and – propelled by technology – has rocketed into the hands of consumers today.

It’s a new world of digital velocity, zero attention, and explosive choice. People now have to make more choices in a single day than a caveman did in a lifetime!

Welcome to the Consumer Republic, where Consumers are in control and love every second of it. Consumer choice is reinventing every model, from research right through to retail.

As Procter & Gamble’s AG Lafley says: “Your products run for election every day.”

Here are 10 Ideas to Help you win your Election:

Idea #1: Run with the Inspirational Consumer

The most powerful marketer in the world works for free. She is the Inspirational Consumer. Anyone can be a consumer. Inspirational consumers love and live for what a company does.

Passionate advocates, storytellers, moral guardians, radical optimists, and co-creators. Evangelists who want to take over manufacturing and marketing, who want a piece of history however small, who want to spread inspirational news about the brand they love.

We’re inside a revolution. Inspirational Consumers are transforming one-to-many to many-to-one. They are reversing the flow of dreams, ideas, goods, and experiences . They are reinventing the entire value proposition:

  • In Auto, they design cars parts. From BMW through to Toyota. Detroit is waking up to it.
  • In FMCG, they design everything from tissue to toothpaste, recently Crest toothpaste flavours.
  • On the Web they run Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia and the blog revolution.
  • In Journalism they are reporters. OhmyNews in South Korea has 38,000 “citizen journalists”.
  • In Music they are distributors and rock stars. The big four labels never saw them coming.
  • In TV, viewers are producers. Check out Current TV on-line, Al Gore’s TV channel.
  • The same in Movies and advertisements. From Nike, Apple and Converse to Star Wars fan films (Revelations).
  • In Health, pill takers are becoming pill makers, to straighten the priorities of big pharmaceutical companies.
  • In Gaming, they enhance the software and decide what gets released.
  • In Education – open-source software has potential to change lives everywhere.

Inspirational Consumers are doing it for themselves. You can run with them – and win, or get left behind.

Idea #2: Leap Beyond Reason

Brands all look the same. In the consumer’s world the fries are always crisp, cars start first time and all beer tastes good.

Brands were about rational ideas with emotion clipped on by the ad department. Consumers have moved on. They are out of time and beyond reason. From Virgin to Versace, people are about 80% emotional and 20% rational. It turns out choice is emotional, more emotional than we ever dreamed.

To survive, business has to put emotion at its centre.

Consumers are saying: “You’ve got three seconds to change my life or I’m gone.” Consumers want their whole world uplifted by the brand. They want emotion that sweeps them off their feet.

Neurologist Donald Calne keeps it simple: “reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action.”

Idea #3: Live for Love

Brands got rich on respect. That’s over. The crunch question: “Is it better to be respected, or loved and respected?” No contest. From Google to Gates, everyone wants both.

Look at this Love / Respect Axis:


  • Low Respect, Low Love. Commodities.
  • Low Respect, High Love. The Fad zone. Hero today. Zero tomorrow.
  • High Respect, Low Love. Most brands are stuck here on the “e-r” words: newer, brighter, stronger, cheaper.
  • High Respect, High Love. Lovemarks. Premium profits through deep emotion.
  • Lovemarks are built on Respect and Love
  • Lovemarks are the future beyond brands:
  • Lovemarks create Loyalty beyond Reason.
  • Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them. Consumers not companies.
  • Lovemarks can be everything that people care deeply about. Visit, the base camp of Inspirational Consumers, for thousands of examples.

You recognize Lovemarks instantly.

Lovemarks are more than irreplaceable. They are irresistible.

Idea #4: Market what Matters

Mystery. If we know everything there is nothing to surprise and delight us. Metaphors and dreams. Icons and stories. The flow of past, present and future.

Sensuality. The five senses. Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. Portals to the emotions.

Intimacy is empathy commitment and passion. The small touch. The perfect gesture. The Future.

Idea #5: Sizzle with sisomo

The way Lovemarks are mediated is changing fast.

TV has been the greatest selling medium throughout time. In developing regions it will dominate for decades.

Now TV is part of a new family of screens. The Screen is moving out into the world. From the kiosk to car, mobile to movie, the Screen is the new playground for Big Transformative Ideas.

We’re in “The Screen Age,” and what brings the screen to life is Sight, Sound and Motion. This is the subject of my new book.

Sisomo is about creating magic, about cooking not about convergence. Sight, Sound and Motion electrify Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.

What consumers love is pulsing emotional content on Screen. To win in today’s market, you need to wow them with sight, sound and motion.

Big ideas with big emotion with big SiSoMo impact!

Sisomo paints on the new creative canvas. Take the 2006 Lexus IS launch. It hands a paintbrush to the world. Submit your image online. Help build a photo mosaic of the new IS on the mega screen in Times Square. Win the car. Zoom in at home.

See yourself 33 feet tall.

Entrepreneurs and idealists, gamers, designers and artists, everyone can mix and paint. As professionals you have to explore every screen-based medium.

Find the fabulous fit with your business. Light it up!!

The TV ad didn’t die. It lifted its game with a thriller question. Do you want to see it again?

Idea #6: Turn Shoppers into Buyers

After the screen, the second space revolutionized by Lovemarks will be the Store. The Store is the next mass media.

Look at how manufacturers are launching profile into retail space. Lacoste and Coach, Lego and Apple, even Microsoft wants to get physical with a showcase store in Times Square.

Turning shoppers into buyers is the big game for marketers.

Around 80% of purchase decisions and 50% of brand switches occur in Store. So why do supermarkets everywhere assault the senses?

Marry mobile SiSoMo with mystery, sensuality and intimacy in Store and you see the future. Enter a sensual paradise. Shop, pay and carry OnScreen. Massage, feast, fiesta and dance all the way.

It’s happening. Sunka in Catalonia, Collette in Paris, the Container Store in the US, Lovemarks is moving in store. This is where creative legends will be born.

The next great marketing challenge is to transform the rational, cut-price store into a theatre of dreams.

Idea #7: Be an Inspirational Player

How does an organization become a Lovemark?

Forget all the military management models and metaphors – from reengineering through to restructuring.

Explosive growth comes from a world beyond management. We call it Peak Performance.

Peak Performance is a theory, a practice, a book, a program I teach students and executives worldwide. It is the secret of sustainable enterprise. Peak Performance is about attaining and sustaining the highest levels of performance imaginable.

That’s about more than Management – doing things right and about more than leadership, doing the right things. It’s getting tough to find people with “born to follow” tattooed on their arms!

Four years research led us to the future of business, a property with explosive power. It was Inspiration.

Inspiration unleashes potential. It’s contagious. It’s about action. It delivers real results. Peak Performing organizations continuously inspire people to exceed their personal best in pursuit of the team’s purpose.

They stand for Nothing is Impossible.

Peak Performance leads to Lovemarks. Be you country, product, service or cause, what are you going to do? Give people a reason to join you ? Or give them a dream to live for?

Peak Performing organizations are families of Inspirational Players. They follow an Inspirational Dream through Challenge and Focus. With Harmony and Passion they get into Flow.

Flow is how iPod and iTunes sustain a stunning 80% of their worldwide markets. Apple design legend Jonathan Ives meant flow when he said: “You’re left with a design solution that is so essential and so inevitable that it seems like it wasn’t designed.”

Harmony, passion and flow turn the Inspirational Dream into reality. Martin Luther King did not say: “I have a mission statement”.

Idea #8: Go Global

Lovemarks can be global. They start in the local. In Google’s garage. In a Seattle coffee shop.

Without local heroes, Globalization goes sideways.

You can’t move the world from the top-down. You can’t structurally adjust people to your point of view. As the US writer James Chapin would say: “every place becomes more like itself.”

Inspirational Players start in the local where living breathing consumers live. This is how marketers make a difference!! Cross a boundary. Inspire another local. Do it again. Love and inspire people as you go.

It’s not about thinking. Tom Peters has it right. Act now think later – then at least you’ve got something to think about!

Success in marketing, in business, in everything is about action.

Go local; Go Global.

Idea #9: Make the World a Better Place for all People

Lovemarks are about more than return on investment. They step up to return on involvement.

These are fragile days. Poverty must be killed. Forty percent of humanity on under $2 a day is a call to action. Who will answer?

Who will champion change? Who can? Business.

The role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone.

Business is the engine of human progress. Marketers drive that engine to market. We lead the engine out into the world to make a difference.

The world needs our long game. The sustainability challenge is to solve not just save, connect not just create, inspire not just lead.

Sustainable enterprise is about creating economic profit and social profit and ecological profit and cultural profit. This is the power of paradox. Refuse to compromise. Build complex opposites together with equal passion so they enhance each other and inspire a place neither dreamed possible.

Idea #10: Get Started on Monday

Here are five Action Points:

  • Find an Inspirational Consumer who is loyal beyond reason – to anything, from a car to a café. Find out why and apply it to your business. Start at
  • List everything static in your organization. Give it the elements of story: characters, plot, drama, music and mystery. Add Sisomo! Make your organization come alive!!!
  • Shop with your whole body. Put all five senses on high alert. Use what excites you to create your own theatre of dreams.
  • Join the fight for a better world by getting personally involved. For a few dollars you can fund a malaria net that will save a human life.
  • Be open to Love. Once you accept the power of Love a whole heap of stuff drops neatly into place – or right out of the picture altogether.

Spirit Dance


An address to the Waikato Management School Sustainable Enterprise Symposium. Opening thoughts, ideas, inspirations and directions. Here’s an early presentation linking personal passions, professional practice, local imperatives and academic affiliations.

Edge of the World


A careers presentation to the Waikato Management School in Hamilton, NZ. What we do in life echoes through eternity. Business is a gladiatorial career choice. It is the engine of human progress. For power to touch and transform lives, no career track comes close. Kevin Roberts takes school-leavers and families on a journey through and beyond Waikato Management School. From Dream to Reality. From Edge to Centre.

Freedom Train


An address to the Tuck Academy of Management Symposium: ‘Why Smart Executives Fail’. Smart executives have a new job – turning their organization into a Lovemark. A Saatchi & Saatchi case-study on transformative leadership. This presentation explores the power of language and tells the story of Saatchi & Saatchi’s turn around. Through freedom and inspiration, ‘nothing is impossible’.

Brand New Day


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.

Gotta Find a Way!


An address to the 10th International Snackex Conference. Curiosity is a human quality that can deliver true and relevant insights on the road to discovering Lovemarks, and it can be as simple as talking to real people in real time. Europe’s snack industry leaders get some food for thought on escaping the commodity trap.

Love’s Transformation


An address to the Unie der Belgische Adverteerders. Emotion is the primary motivator and ultimate game breaker. By building on Respect and igniting Love, Lovemarks are a call to action. Belgian advertisers go inside mystery, sensuality and intimacy to develop an understanding of the brands people love.

Rising Sun


An address to the Netherlands Association of Advertisers. Emotion is the rising sun in branding. Ideas, conviction and passion can lead to massive opportunities. Amsterdam Ad-folk get a week’s worth of ideas for connecting in the new reality.

Paint It Black


An address to the Color Marketing Group Annual Conference. The man in black takes his paint brush to the rainbow at the Color Marketing Group’s Fall International Conference. A new spectrum coloring where we are and where we have to get to. Paint brands beige. Paint emotion purple. Paint love gold. Paint Lovemarks red. Paint colour white. Paint the edge silver. Take a step back. Black attack!

2010 – Near Future Visions


An address to the Cambridge Alumni in Management / Judge Business School. The intersection between the public and private sphere is game-breaking territory. The optimistic power of ideas can change the world for the better. Through opportunities, business has the power to deliver self-esteem. We need to develop attitude, use the market, negotiate and invite love back into business.

Stop! In the Name of Love


An address to the World Association of Research Professionals (ESOMAR). Business has moved from the clichés of consumer focus to the realities of consumer commitment. We must develop ways to measure important human emotions like love, empathy and loyalty. The market research industry gets asked to step up to inspiration, and find ways to get past information, and find meaning.