Nothing’s Gonna Stop us Now!
Friday, 6 September 2002 - Melbourne, Australia
An address to the Magazine Publishers Association of Australia. The magazine industry is under pressure. There’s no better time to step up to the challenge. Magazines are a fingertip away from a complete sensory experience. To evolve great brands to a higher level, magazines need to get local, distinctive and embrace emotion.
At the Awards Dinner last night I got together with Jefferson Airplane to announce: “Nothing’s gonna stop us now.” My message to you today is the same. I live in Auckland and New York and travel constantly and the evidence is very clear. A dynamic force is surging out of Australia and New Zealand. I call it the power of the Edge.
Edge cultures will have new value in this millennium. Great ideas can come from anywhere, but many of them turn up on the edge. Places like Australia and New Zealand. Places distant from the control of the centre. Places where you can shake off convention and shake out creative ideas.
The Edge has real momentum right now in our own advertising business. Edge dwellers are fanning out over the globe.
In Saatchi & Saatchi an Edge Team has shaken up the historic heartland of advertising: London.
Creative Director Dave Droga, CEO James Hall and Worldwide Creative Director Bob Isherwood come from the edge. Australians and New Zealanders who don’t believe in “it-can’t-be-done”. Who live the spirit of Saatchi & Saatchi: Nothing is impossible.
This trio transformed Saatchi & Saatchi London into agency of the year at Cannes 2002. And Dave’s saucy spot for 18-30 won a Gold Lion. Saatchi & Saatchi cleaned up Best Print with a Grand Prix for 18-30 as well. A print campaign devoted to missing the point!
We live in a physical world but in this world the value of business lies more and more in intangibles. Ideas, innovations, patents, reputation, brands.
The magazine industry straddles both tangibles and intangibles in a unique way. You create value through ideas, brands and innovations, but you do it through your mastery of very tangible sensory appeal. In Australia where about 90 percent of magazine sales happen at retail outlets, the pressure on the sensory is intense. Not for you the buffer of annual subscriptions. You have to seize attention every week, every month.
A G Lafley, the CEO of the world’s largest consumer goods company Procter & Gamble, sums up the challenge P&G shares with you: There are two moments of truth – when customers choose, and when they use.
I came to advertising from the dark side. I was The Client. That role should be part of every job description. As a client you are never quite understood. It’s like everybody else knows client-speak – but only as a second language.
When I crossed over I came with an idea I have never let go. It is the foundation of everything I do. Business runs on emotion because business is run by humans. Ok, most businesses. And the greatest human emotion is love. When I first suggested that love could transform business, I was greeted with disbelief. Emotion in the abstract was OK – just. But Love? Too intense, too passionate, too out-of-control to contemplate.
But I kept at it. At Saatchi & Saatchi we have become obsessed by making emotional connections with our customers, with clients and with each other. Who do we love? We love our clients. And they love us right back. That’s why we choose them.
Great relationships are fundamental to doing great business. I care deeply about business, and I love people. Put together the right way they are a powerful and unstoppable force. If the role of business is to make the world a better place – and I believe it is – then business needs to create life-long love affairs with the people we call customers.
So why this urgency to introduce love into business? It’s simple. Brands are running out of juice. The era we leave behind took us on the heroic journey from products to trademarks to brands.
Brands created extraordinary value and delivered remarkable differentiation. They pumped economies around the world for decades. But now brands have come under serious threat attacked on all sides by commodification. Your own industry has suffered from it.
- Increased competition through the introduction of more players into the market. You know the metrics: the number of Australian, cover-priced, consumer magazines has increased by 76% over the last decade.
- An obsession with shaving margins by the one-armed brandits. In the U.S. where subscriptions are of more importance than here, the industry actually lowered subscription rates during the boom times of the late ’90s. An average one-year offer sank from $US29.44 in 1996 to $US24.41 in 2000. Too concerned with price to consider value.
Brands offer little protection from the damage inflicted by numbers like these. The problems go deep. In the U.S. leading publishing companies are forming alliances with everyone and everything from Oprah Winfrey to MTV. No wonder brands sag under the weight of huge expectations. They have to forge new ground while holding together more diverse audience segments across more fragmented media. They were invented in kinder times when clear functional benefits, professional execution and a snappy jingle delivered growth year after year.
Time for a radical rethink. Time to step up. To evolve great brands to a higher level.
I started by declaring “Nothing’s gonna stop us now!” Here are seven ways to ensure no one’s going to stop you.
1: Embrace Emotion and you will be Unstoppable
Business has been through some arid years. Objects of desire sold on little more than their performance statistics. Blame the ‘ER’ merchants.
Bigger, better, faster, cheaper. The magazine industry has done better than most – although sometimes you take the number of pages too seriously!
Just remember: people without passion or emotion cannot create great products, great ideas or great anything. Responding to the emotional pulse opens up a new world for our clients. An opportunity to inspire loyalty beyond reason. Loyalty growing out of emotional connections, not incentives and offers.
I am convinced that great ideas people, true innovators live by the “I’s” and the “E’s”.
- I for Ideas, Imagination, Intuition, Insight and Inspiration.
- E for Enchantment, Excitement, Emotion, Empathy.
2: Try Stopping a Business that Loves Women!
Women are a huge part of why Saatchi & Saatchi has put renewed effort into Love and emotion. Many of the brands we partner with matter to women.
Your readers are overwhelmingly women although I challenge the way ABC audits the magazine market. How helpful is a category called “Women’s” when it comes in at 50.4%? Especially when “Men’s Interest” only hits 5.5%.
The time for women is now. Life is too fast and too complex for command and control. Women have always known that Inspiration is the way to get stuff done. Forget management and doing things right. Get past leadership and doing the right things. In this new millennium these are just more table-stakes. What makes a difference now is inspiration and spirit. The qualities that make an organization special.
The result will be businesses that recognize women’s skills at networking, their deep understanding of emotion and their uncanny intuitive abilities. They will be unbeatable. At any age.
3: There’s No Way to Stop People With Great Ideas
Connections are the energy of innovation and great ideas. Steve Jobs of Apple Computers gets it: “Creativity is just connecting things.” In the demand for creativity, connections are what matter. The speed and quality of innovation depends on the number of connections you can make among people and their ideas. That’s why everyone in this room can make a difference. We can’t leave the ideas to a chosen few; it is a responsibility (and a delight) we can all share.
The magazine industry is under pressure at the newsstand – more titles, greater competition, tighter targeting. How to cut through this clamour? How to seize attention? The only answer that delivers is … great ideas.
Promotions give some breathing space but not enough to make a difference. Ideas for innovative alliances and association will give you more for longer. But Daniel Brewster, chief Executive of Gruner & Jahr, sums up the truly inspiring goal best: “The everlasting engine of the magazine business is creativity and new product creation.”
That is exactly what my friend Alan Webber delivered when he came up with a new kind of business magazine in the mid-1990s. Fast Company. Five years later the magazine was sold for about $US360 million.
Oprah found the sweet spot with “O.” “Lucky” from Conde Nast and “In Style” from Time have done brilliantly as well. All great ideas in tune with their time.
4: You Can’t Stop People Who Love Where They Live
People live in the local. In real, distinctive places. And they love it there. I have never met a global consumer. I never expect to. We define ourselves by our differences. Differences that are the energy of powerful emotional connections.
Australians are passionate patriots – it’s what we love about you. Roy Morgan Research’s findings proved what we already suspected. Australians try to buy Australian made products more than New Zealanders, British or Americans. Consumers go for their local product. Great news for magazine people who can tell distinctively local stories.
5: You Can’t Stop People Falling in Love With a Lovemark
Lovemarks are the future for branding. Darwin would have got it straight off. Product to trademark. Trademark to Brand. Brand to Lovemark. Lovemarks are super-evolved brands.
- Lovemarks connect the company, their people and their brands.
- Lovemarks inspire loyalty beyond reason.
- Lovemarks belong to their customers not to companies and corporations.
- Lovemarks are the ultimate premium profit generator.
Lovemarks are personal. They can be local or global. They are the charismatic brands that people love and fiercely protect.
6: You Can’t Stop Love and Respect When They Bond Together. Don’t Even Try!
Lovemarks evolved from one simple insight: the Love/Respect Axis. A fast, intuitive reality check. You enter every relationship somewhere on the Axis.
Start here with Low Respect and Low Love. Commodities. Public utilities. Low value transaction, 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. Brittany Spears and Survivor. Dotcoms and Re-engineering.
High Respect and Low Love is where most major brands are stuck. Great products, solid R&D, serious customer research. All fixed on those “e-r” words.
So Look up: to the Love dimension. Here is where the breakthroughs are. Here we can make deep connections with customers by building on Respect, but igniting Love. This combination is what Oprah grasped intuitively and delivered with brilliance.
Lovemarks want it all. Forget “either/or”.
It’s “and/and”. Love and respect. Heart and mind. Emotion and reason. Profit and share. Local and global. And, and, and.
It’s time to put the “and” back into brand.
7: You Can’t Stop Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.
What makes Lovemarks so much more than brands is their Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy. We’ve used Lovemarks to check out most everything from Lego to Disney, Bill Clinton to Bill Gates and Microsoft. What does the Lovemarker reveal about your industry?
Great stories: Lovemarks thrive on the ancient human urge to trade stories around the campfire. Stories are at the heart of the magazine business and where print advertising should be at its innovative best. A lot of ads sacrifice stories to the immediacy of impact and image. Maybe it’s time to look at story telling again in the print medium.
Past, present and future together: Deep relationships come from shared histories and experiences. Magazines must reinvent themselves issue by issue but that sense of continuity and community marks out the great publications from the average.
Taps into dreams: Lovemarks are infused with the rich imagery that haunts our dreams. Martha Stewart worked this one out. Her magazine is not purchased by people who live this perfect life but by the people who dream of living it.
Then there is sensuality – the five qualities that draw directly on the senses.
Touch: The most intimate. I love magazines and that passion has a lot to do with touch. The smooth slip of the pages, the spring of the binding, the eccentric drama of inspiring publications like Nest.
Taste: People rarely choose to eat alone. The rituals of friendship and family, celebration and ceremony are rich sources for the taste of a Lovemark. If you can make computers a tasty treat why not magazines? Remember the first iMacs? Put out in fruity flavours with one word. YUM!
Vision: Design, design, design. Pump out as much content as you like. We’re still in an attention economy, and only design will create that vital jolt. The magazine racks show an attack of the blands. Bold, busy … and all the same. Great design zags while others zig.
Smell: Perfume samples in magazines just scratch the surface. Nothing is more memorable than a smell. Apparently, human beings can detect over ten thousand of them – there’s a lot of potential out there!
Sound: I’ve got to tell you, sound isn’t a CD stuck to the cover. Saatchi & Saatchi recently sold a beer in South America on a simple sound – the ssssh of a cap coming off a bottle. Brahma beer quadrupled sales on the sound of ssssssh.
Intimacy is the third quality of a Lovemark.
Commitment: Fan magazines know all about this. Gordon Paddison of New Line Cinema brilliantly mobilised fans of Lord of the Rings on his side. By opening up the production to fan sites he incited loyalty beyond reason. Buzz beyond measure.
Empathy: For any relationship worth the name you need empathy. Empathy is what we call talent in a great editor. The ability to sense unformed desires in your readers – and transform them to delight.
Passion: The beating heart of Lovemarks. Passion is the supreme motivator. Passion drove us to queue up for the latest comic when we were kids. Passion should still engrave the publication date of our favourite magazine on our hearts.
Call to Action
Finally, four ideas about what to do on Monday to take you from high respect to high love.
- Get intimate with Lovemarks. Get intimate with Lovemarks. Not comfortable but intimate. Check out Lovemarks.com for ideas, insights and inspirations. Test what you are doing against Lovemarks thinking thinking. Play with the ideas, don’t polish them. Start new conversations with your people and your clients.
- Lead with your senses. The key opportunity for your medium. Understand how we create our world through sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. And then dive in.
- Embrace the power of women. Listen to what they have to say and learn. Women are the future.
- Transform your brands into Lovemarks. At Saatchi & Saatchi we know that Lovemarks make us more valuable to our clients. This is true for anyone who takes up the Lovemark challenge.
Our goal is to inspire Loyalty beyond reason.