Rhythm of Love

Friday, 1 April 2011 - Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne Love

Presentation Summary

Speaking at the National Speakers Association of Australia Convention, Melbourne, Kevin Roberts shares 5 big ideas to put you on the path to creating Lovemarks.

‘Stand Up and Stand Out’, this is a fantastic theme, the drive to command a premium as competition swarms.

Commoditization is why brands were invented, it is why we are talking, but it is not why we are here. As speakers, trainers and agents of change we are here to champion the role of business.

  • To create shareholder value
  • To create and grow a customer
  • To make the world a better place for everyone

Speaking is a transformation industry, the industry to move everything forward. Revolution starts with language. Language is its power, and it is your extraordinary gift. When you change the language, you shift the conversation. A good presentation can change people’s lives; a great one can change everything.

The best brands understand the role of business. They are ‘Purpose-inspired’, sharing a dream that is bigger than brand benefit.

Quite a challenge!

I’m going to share some personal experience that led to a world stage, then some ideas to help you become bigger than a brand.  

Success in any enterprise is about the will to win, and in a pro tunnel like tennis, golf, or speaking you need, as All Black Grant Fox told me: “Fire in the belly and ice in the brain.”

I’ve wanted to win since I was a kid and ‘live performance’ has been my catapult to a fascinating life.

In 1997, as CEO Worldwide at Saatchi & Saatchi, Chairman Bob Seelert’s stand-fast advice was: “Every morning strap on a bullet proof vest and water proof back, so when the shi*t flies, it bounces of your front or runs off your back.”

Bob also gave me the best business advice in a lifetime: start with the answer, and work back from there.

Saatchi & Saatchi has been my permission to misbehave. I’ve spoken in 50+ countries to legions of audiences. Ranging from the CIA to Nike to Coke to Starbucks to P&G, Google, Oxford to Cambridge to Wharton to Stanford…

My purpose is inspired by wanting to win, by wanting the forces of darkness not to win, and by being here to inspire you to win, because we share an attitude that can bring victory to all.

Let’s look at how to become bigger than a brand. It’s not about what you do. It’s how you make people feel and their desire to share that feeling.

The world has a VUCA feeling: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Your purpose job is to make VUCA feel Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy, Astounding.

“Like” is not enough, you have to be loved, a Lovemark. The questions are:

  • Do you want to be respected? Or do you want to be loved and respected?
  • Are you price-focused, or priceless?
  • Are you irreplaceable, or could you be irresistible?

Here are some roads that lead to Lovemarks:

Idea #1: The Unreasonable Power of Creativity  

The unreasonable power of creativity is raw energy, the difference between counterfeit and the real deal.

Edward De Bono says, “It’s no good being brilliant at the wrong thing.” Whatever your brilliant thing, it should burn with insight and unleash ideas.

Revelatory ideas surprise with the obvious.

  • Apple opened retail stores.
  • Toyota Prius gave us a button start ignition.
  • Wrongologist Katheryn Schultz, a pro speaker, is expert on being wrong. Good!
  • To develop a pen that could write in space, NASA spent millions on advanced technology. The Russians used a pencil!

Go to the extreme end of your creative range… and then leap. Fail fast, learn fast, fix fast.

Adidas saw its income climb 130% last year through courage to invest in innovation in a tough market.

Reframe-reframe-reframe. Reframe the entire game if you have to. Ideas are the currency of the future.

Idea #2: Light Fires of Emotion

The world comes in a word, as we discovered with “Lovemarks.” The language of emotion pumps premiums, whether you’re ennobling civil rights or designing car curves. Fiat 500 can charge a 30% premium based on sheer exhilaration.

Think about where you are on the Love/Respect Axis.


  • Low Respect. Low Love. Commodities. America’s airlines to Colonel Gaddafi.
  • High Love. Low Respect. Fads. Charlie Sheen on TV to Mel Meninga on radio.
  • High Respect. Low Love. Bland brand land. Toothpaste aisles to Oscar speeches, death of a thousand cuts.
  • High Love. High Respect. Lovemarks. JFK to Martin Luther King. Who else?

To go beyond a brand, build volcanic heat. Reason leads to conclusion, emotion leads to action.

Idea #3: Get Real ROI 

Brands are dead, and so is marketing your brand. In the always-on Screen Age, word of mouse does that for you.

If your idea is big enough it will course through people’s veins, through their networks, through a multitude of delivery systems from in person through to digital, from live event through to social. As Estée Lauder said: “Telephone, Telegraph, Telewoman.”

Attention  Participation
Audience  Interaction
One-to-many  Many-to-one
Return on Investment  Return on Involvement

Brand Obama surged into power not with a Marketing Programme, but through a Movement for Participation – and he may need another one!!

Involvement’s accelerator is sight, sound and motion, how you use screens to connect ideas and emotions into what matters most to people.

We remember 80% of what we see and do, 20% of what we read. Sisomo is not techno. It’s Web-loving, TV-led, throbbing emotional content. Internet, TV, mobile, social are becoming a single platform.

The job is to connect screens at warp speed, building excitement in the moment. Let people touch you instantaneously, whenever, wherever, however.

Three questions matter in your business.

  1. Do I want to see you again?
  2. Do I want to share you?
  3. Do I want to improve you?

Idea #4: Turn Three Keys

The door to great content has three keys: Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.

Mystery is what’s unknown, unexpected and unbelievable. Apple shrouds new product launches in mystery with rumors, hints and limited editions, then blows your socks off.

Icons, symbols and stories – People are nuts for stories. Boy meets girl, the hero’s journey, the prodigal son, rage against the machine, win the battle… Limited formats exist, but infinite combinations, plays and characters can drive revenue. Danish futurist Rolf Jensen: “The highest-paid person in the first half of this century will be the story-teller.”

Dreams and Inspiration – Martin Luther King did not say I have a vision statement, a theory, or a book!

Leaders need followers. You are inspirers. Your job is to challenge yourself and to coach others to achieve what they thought was beyond them, to take them to another place.

Sensuality is Sight, Sound, Scent, Touch and Taste, the enthrallers of emotions. To stand out, get your act across all five senses. From audio books to tasting menus, be super-sensorial.

In South Africa, we marketed a Graduate School of Business with… tea. For UCT’s “full color platform”, our ‘PossibiliTeas’ have idea boosters for meeting breaks. Nice cup of business!

Intimacy is empathy, commitment and passion, where you become expert connectors. Put yourself in the audience’s heart, (not the audience at your heart). U2 re-invented the concert with 360 by putting themselves at the center of the stadium.

Museums are becoming virtual community centers where we decide what we want to see. Get beyond speaker ads and promos to sharing, joy and fun.

Humor is the shortcut to the heart.

Idea #5: Work with the Es

As we dare to be mighty… 5 Es to let freedom ring:

  • Enthusiasm: Be an irresistible force of nature; reject normality; change it with your dreams.
  • Eureka! The average person has 70,000 thoughts a day. Harvest revelations, ideas, epiphanies.
  • Enraged: Challenge and change the status quo. The world needs the antipodean attitude.
  • Execute: It’s the killer app. Don’t get things done. Make things happen!
  • Empathy: From stage to screen, inspire and connect people. None of us is as strong as all us.

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