Monday, 18 November 2002 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
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.
Around the world, private and public organisations face a crisis of confidence. Individuals in government, business and church have let millions of people down. Public trust has plummeted. People are disillusioned. They’re reaching out for a new dream. A future they can value.
For enlightened business this spells massive opportunity. The role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone – creating self-esteem, prosperity, jobs and choices. To do this we needs ideas, conviction and passion.
Saatchi & Saatchi is in the ideas business. The dream that inspires us is to be revered as the hothouse for world-class creative ideas that transform our clients’ businesses, brands and reputation.
You have been invited here as brand masters, the people who understand advertising, control advertising, do advertising. The ones responsible for the brand management flame.
My message today? A new sun is rising. Time to get past both brands and management. To transform brands into Lovemarks and make deep emotional connections with consumers. To transform management with Inspiration and engage both head and heart.
Five years ago Saatchi & Saatchi figured that something was very wrong. It’s old news that brands are under pressure from commodification. Competition. Higher standards of performance and quality. Pressure on margins and price. The rapid imitation of innovation. The growth of private label. Row on never-ending row of what I call brandroids.
Propping up brands is a short-term plan. Not only are we deep in the commodity wars, our front-line troops are exhausted. Brands have run out of juice.
Brands can no longer deal to our most important questions:
- How can we cut through the clutter?
- Which brands should we focus on?
- How can we integrate the brand experience?
- How can we convince consumers to commit?
See the problem? Each question is from our point of view. The brand’s needs. The brand’s success. Whose voice are we listening to?
You want to know how to create emotional connections with customers? I have a week’s worth of ideas to get you moving.
Monday’s Idea – Touch Emotion
You’re marketing people. You know that emotion is now on the business agenda. Just. Time to stop talking emotion and put it to work. We need to engage with the emotion economy.
Emotion is an unlimited resource. Where ever there are human beings, there you will find emotion. There are no limits to its power. As emotional business takes center-stage, it will be the rainmaker of billion dollar brands.
I’m tracking a fast-moving trend to what I call the “Is” and “Es”:
- I for Ideas, Imagination, Intuition, Insight and Inspiration.
- E for Emotion, Empathy, Enchantment, Elation.
In the grand old brand days emotion was a clip-on. Brands flourished in the rational world of benefits. The ad guys were there to pipe on some emotional icing – and that was that.
Fast forward to 2002. We now accept that human beings are powered by emotion, not by reason. Emotion and reason are intertwined, but when they conflict – emotion wins every time. Without the fleeting and intense stimulus of emotion, rational thought winds down and slowly disintegrates.
The human brain turned out to more complex, more densely connected and more mysterious than any of us dreamt. But let’s not become wanna-be neurologists and physiologists. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to get this!
Why should that matter to you as marketing masters? Donald Calne puts it like this: “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.” More emotion, more action. More reason, yet more conclusions.
Brands evolved in the era of transactions. Emotion was never part of the deal. The roots of brands lie in consumption, efficiency, information. They cannot stretch part enough from these transactional roots to make emotional connections.
Over the last 30 years the shift of power from manufacturers to retailers and distributors has been well documented. But a more radical shift is gathering speed. It’s no longer what businesses agree to give consumers. It is what consumers demand of business.
People want control over their lives. There’s more choice. Higher expectations. Many more touch-points. This is the new consumer. This is way outside the territory of brands. This is where loyalty beyond reason lies.
Tuesday’s Idea – Step up to Lovemarks
Lovemarks are an idea that can transform brands and marketing. An idea that places brands where they should be: at the emotional heart. Darwin would have got it straight off. Monkey to man. Brand to Lovemark. Lovemarks are super-evolved brands.
- Lovemarks are a game-breaking opportunity to reinvent branding.
- Lovemarks connect companies, their people and their brands.
- Lovemarks inspire loyalty beyond reason.
- Lovemarks belong to the people who love them.
- Lovemarks are the ultimate premium profit generator.
Lovemarks evolved from one insight: the Love/Respect Axis.
People order their world according to a precise mix of Respect and Love. Respect is a foundation of Lovemarks. But huge investments have been made in Respect for decades. Metrics, formulas, tools – respect has ’em all. Love is a new challenge.
Start 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. “Big Brother” and “Fear Factor” – the rest of the world hasn’t forgiven you yet for coming up with the reality format! Dotcoms and Pokemon. Likeable, distinctive, tasteless – and very popular.
High Respect and Low Love – this is where most major brands are stuck. Efficient service, great products, solid customer research. All fixed on the “e-r” words. Newer, brighter, stronger, bolder. Table-stakes all of them.
Great performance is only what customers expect. Cars start first time, the fries are crisp, dishes shine. Today everyone has to be here just to stay in the game.
High Respect and High Love. Here new value lies. Here the breakthroughs are. Here we can make deep connections with consumers, with people.
Toyota gets it too. For decades their passion has been Respect – but now they hooking into emotion. Senior vice president at Toyota USA Don Esmond crystallized the new challenge: “It’s time to move from the most respected car company in America to the most loved.” That would put Toyota right up there: High Love and High Respect.
Lovemarks want it all. Forget the simplicity of “either/or”. In our complex world it’s “and/and”. Love and respect. Heart and mind. Emotion and reason. Online and off-line. Profit and share. Local and global. Quantitative and Qualitative. And, and, and.
Let’s put the “and” back into brand.
We’ve developed the methodology, refined the processes and in the U.S. built the advertising we do for Toyota on Lovemarks. Last September our first big test: the campaign launch of the new Camry. A $180 million transformation from “sensible to sensual.”
In my world the only metrics that matter are sales. Toyota closed out with its best year ever. They posted the largest sales growth of the top six manufacturers and finished the year close to being in the top three of U.S. car sales for the first time ever.
The mind-set in Toyota has changed. Car guys always ask each other “How much metal did you move?” We changed the question: “How much does the metal move you?”
Lovemarks always need to be backed up by focus, distribution, innovation and relentless execution. But above all, they need the power of Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy. The elements that give life to a Lovemark.
Lovemarks are personal, they’re local, they’re distinctive. And they can be anything – a person, a country, a car, an organization. Lovemarks stand out from the crowd. They are the charismatic brands that people love and fiercely protect. You know them instantly.
- Harley Davidson, definitely. Suzuki? I don’t think so.
- An iMac; or a ThinkPad? Sorry IBM
- McDonalds is a clear Lovemark. Burger King has got the taste but not the Love.
Saatchi & Saatchi have created an idea and insight generator we call the Lovemarker. We’ve workshopped it hard. On every outing we have come up with ideas for instant improvements as well a crucial strategic insights.
Lovemarks are Open Source. And we have resolved that they will stay that way. They are too important for us to stamp our names all over them. They flourish when they connect with what truly matters to people. They wither at the touch of the TM.
Wednesday’s Idea – Create Mystery
The first great quality of a Lovemark is Mystery. Mystery draws together the stories, metaphors and dreams that give a relationship texture.
Mystery is taking centre-stage again after the metric mania of the 20th century. What we don’t know starts to be as important as what we do.
Saatchi & Saatchi has identified the four key elements of Mystery for a Lovemark. A Lovemark has great stories and draws together past, present and future. It taps into dreams. Brings back deep meaning in myths and icons.
Lovemarks do not just tell great stories, they listen for them, recognize them and respond to them. Stories give context and meaning. They remind us why we care and how we can connect. Our work with Lexus has turned up some wonderful stories. They cherish the little girl born in a Lexus named – Isabella Alexus.
Lovemarks tap into dreams. Bill Gates’ dream to put a PC on every desk. New Zealand’s dream to win the America’s Cup. Nike’s dream to inspire athletes everywhere. Rem Koolhaas’s dream to rule the world. We were delighted to welcome Rem as a judge this year in the Saatchi & Saatchi Innovation in Communication Award.
In the world of rational marketing, brands are so precisely defined that mystery evaporates.
Last month I talked with the US Color Marketing Group in San Diego. They are the people who decide the color of our lives – two years out.
I put the color industry through the Lovemarker and their mystery score was through the roof. The Lovemarker showed them the value of the calculated mystery they had created. They don’t operate with algorithms or metrics but a process of judgment and consultation. And it works. Manufacturers won’t start the production lines without their OK.
Thursday’s Idea – Revel in Sensuality
The human body is where it all begins. Vision, sound, hearing, touch, taste. This is how we experience the world. Sensuality is a portal to the emotions. With the Saatchi & Saatchi Lovemarker you can come up with a new take on sensuality, test where you stand now, get your hands into what matters to your customers.
As the marketing landscape becomes more complex, the number of touch-points of a brand multiplies. The usual plan is to keep them carefully contained. The telemarketer’s call. The DM mail piece. A billboard. Maybe a poster or TVC. A web site.
But customers demands are escalating and business is scrambling to deliver. The big issue? Integration. The solution? Touch points not as a framework or tool or technology but as a way to keep the signals together.
Humans have four genes for vision and 1,000 for smell. Smell is a hugely complex sense leading more directly to the emotions that eyes or ears. As the world’s leading cut flower producers, the Netherlands has got this sense taped.
My local flower shop always has the most scented blooms nearest the door. Smart. But time to start marketing his own scented flower waters for ironing. Use fragrance to create a corner-store Lovemark. Flower Power 21st Century style.
And don’t think because you don’t sell food you can forget taste. What about Apple? Remember their brilliant first line-up of iMacs? Made them in gorgeous colors. Gave them tasty names: Strawberry, Lime, Blueberry, Tangerine. Grape. And sealed their Lovemark status with one word. YUM!
Friday’s Idea – Breathe Intimacy
This is the very soul of a Lovemark. Empathy and inspiration lit up with passion. The intimate connections that are more important than ever.
Intimacy demands empathy. Can’t do without it. Without empathy you can’t do emotion and you can forget becoming a Lovemark.
Intimacy is where thinking and feeling come together most closely. Knowing the right thing to do. Intimacy is about detail because you care.
Remember when a book store was a place to look but not to touch? Well settle back in a comfortable chair, open your magazine, and sip a coffee. Local bookstores and national chains have all made the big move: into the hearts of customers. How? By treating us like friends. By anticipating desires before they become needs.
Saturday’s Idea – Head for the Edge
Lovemarks can’t be grafted onto business-as-usual. They need new attitude and they need new ideas. Great ideas for new products, new technologies, new processes, new connections. Ideas that people haven’t seen before, categories that haven’t been seen before. They need tireless innovation.
I travel constantly but home is Auckland, New Zealand. Why? People talk about keeping your edge, holding the edge, the cutting edge, the bleeding edge. All metaphors for innovation and hot ideas. I take edge literally. We have to do edge. Be edgy. Move ourselves in space and time. Shake off convention. Make it better. Make it worthwhile. Envision possibilities. Shake out new ideas.
Just last week here in Amsterdam Doors of perception held its latest conference. The topic? Flow. Edge thinkers like science fiction writer Bruce Sterling and Franziska Nori, the curator of the “I love you virus” exhibition held earlier this year in Frankfurt, were there.
People like them make every edge exciting and dangerous, whether it’s in art or science, landscape or thrills. The Netherlands perches on the edge of Europe. Here the edge truly matters with the North Sea pressing at your border. Biology follows the edge rule. It’s where species start to evolve.
I am so convinced by the power of the Edge that I produce a web site called The New Zealand Edge. www.nzedge.com. Let us never forget that great ideas come from somewhere.
People live in the local. And they love it there. I have never met a global consumer. I never expect to. We define ourselves by our differences. This is the game some local brands are playing so brilliantly. They don’t just look for difference. They find what makes them better. Like our client Brahma in Brazil which kills Busch and all the global boys there.
Sunday’s Idea – Live Inspiration
Perfect for the final day. With Peak Performance we have created a way that everyone can work at their absolute peak. Every day of the week.
Inspiration is the flame of Peak Performance. With Inspiration you can transform an organisation. Without it you are stuck in the same old rut.
Our traditional understanding of management has been very limited. Success today has to be about more than management, doing things right. About more than leadership, doing the right things. What do all leaders need to succeed? Followers. Who here has “born to follow” tattooed on their arm?
Success today depends on inspiration.
- Inspiration awakens people to their potential. To what they can be and what they can do.
- Inspiration is contagious. I’m not in my job to lead. Or to manage. My role as CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi is to inspire my people. And I expect them to inspire me right back.
- Inspiration arouses people’s commitment to exceed their personal best. Not to beat their sales targets, not to beat the competition, but to exceed their personal best.
Most people never think of themselves as Inspirational. They cut Inspiration out of their own lives and feel the lesser for doing so. But the term Inspirational Player sets people alight.
When we developed Peak Performance we selected a world where Inspiration is fundamental. The world of sport.
Sport is optimistic and a global passion. Sport is empowering and a huge business. But sport is also restless. Becoming more integrated into people’s lives.
The research behind Peak Performance theory and methodology took four years. We got to study some of the world’s great organisations. The New York Yankees. FC Bayern Munich. Williams F1. Team New Zealand.
In the research our focus questions cut deep.
- How do you ensure your people care passionately about what they do?
- How do you keep getting better? How do you inspire your people to keep winning?
- When you’re down, how do you pick yourself up, over and over?
The big lesson of PPO? Every one of us has to be a Peak Performer, an Inspirational Player, a Passionate Believer.
Saatchi & Saatchi’s largest client P&G already has Peak Performance in action. A G Lafley’s Number 1 priority is to unleash his Inspirational Players.
Today I will concentrate on just one element of the PPO change model. The Inspirational Dream.
An Inspirational Dream must move people and make them want to belong. Give them a sense of meaning and purpose. It’s not measurable; it’s about reaching for the stars, not just counting them.
At Saatchi & Saatchi our dream is “To be revered as the hothouse for world-changing creative ideas that transform our clients’ businesses, brands and reputations.”
A dream like this electrifies. Why? Because it puts our creative ideas at the center. Because it goes for nothing less than transformation for our clients. Because it sets out to change the world. Who wants to do anything less?
To be a Peak Performing Organization you must also have focus. Committed, shared Focus. It may look obsessive to outsiders, but insiders value it above all else.
At Saatchi & Saatchi Our focus is “to create and perpetuate Lovemarks through the power of our ideas.”
The power of PPO lies in the way all the elements drive forward together – in the same direction.
The result is the almost unthinkable. A dream in action. A focus on what really matters. A tough challenge that can excite as well as be measured, stretch as well as achieve.
To finish with here are four things to get started on when you get back to the office.
- Fall in love with ideas. I work with ideas and ideas people constantly. Forget the Information Age. We live in the Age of the Idea. Act like a technician or expert and that is how you will be treated. Act like an ideas person and the world will open up before you.
- Get intimate with Lovemarks. Use them to make your own mark as brands wobble and everyone wonders “What’s next?” We are just at the beginning. Check out my websites www.saatchikevin.com and www.lovemarks com. Join the discussion. Learn to live with love.
- Lead with your senses. They often get pushed to one side so time to put them out front. Understand how we create our world not just through sight but through hearing, smell, touch and taste. Dive into them all.
- And finally, and always, be an Inspirational Player. Commit yourself to inspire others. And just as importantly, open up so others can inspire you. Become a force for good. Make a difference.