Total Eclipse of the Heart
Friday, 24 May 2002 - Beirut, Lebanon
An address to the International Advertising Association. This new millennium demands new values and work on the most important relationship of all – Love. Love transforms a relationship from a valued connection to a passionate commitment. The sensuous sting of anise and the sweetness of rose-water syrup give the International Advertising Association some insights on long-term, emotional connections.
It’s great to be back in this part of the world again.
This Congress was announced as an Odyssey. It sure has been for me. I live in New Zealand so today I’m a long way from home. In the 1970s I worked for Gillette, P&G and Pepsi in the Middle East. I lived in Casablanca then just down the road from here in Nicosia. I first came to Beirut in 1972, 30 years ago and remember it as it was, the most beautiful fun place on earth. And the warmest, most hospitable people – many of whom I’m still friendly with – and some of whom are here today. I have never lost the connections. Never forgotten the magic.
The theme of this congress is Relationships. And the most important relationship of all is Love. Love transforms a relationship from a valued connection to a passionate commitment. And what the world needs now, more than ever, is love.
This new millennium demands new values. A return to the fundamentals of human nature. Human emotions truly matter. Our challenge? Don’t just touch hearts. Aspire to change them. Aspire to nothing less than a total eclipse of the heart.
I care about business and I care about people. You can’t have one without the other. To make a difference today every successful business needs to create life-long love affairs with the people we call customers. When I first said the “L” word in public three years ago, everyone squirmed. Now serious business people say Love without blushing. And mean it.
At Saatchi & Saatchi, Love means more than hearts and this year’s new slogan. Love is how we are transforming our Network. Love is how we are transforming our clients’ brands. Love is where business has got to be to deserve those long-term emotional connections with customers.
Love and Lovemarks
Saatchi & Saatchi’s challenge to brands started four years ago.
- Brands have run out of juice.
- Brands can now only drive incremental change, not breakthroughs.
- Brands are trapped by category.
- Brand management is being bled dry by caution and metric mania.
- Brands are losing touch with consumers. Let’s face it – that’s why we’re here.
Marketing in the last century was a journey: from products to trademarks to brands.
Now that journey is coming to an end. Too late for Brand-Aid. Time to move.
Lovemarks are an idea that can transform not just brands and marketing, but how companies see themselves and how they feel about their customers.
- Lovemarks are a game-breaking opportunity to reinvent branding.
- Lovemarks connect the company, its people and its 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 international. They are the charismatic brands that people love and fiercely protect. You know them instantly.
- Harley Davidson, definitely. Suzuki? I don’t think so.
- Here’s an iMac; here’s a ThinkPad. Sorry IBM.
- McDonalds? Lovemark. Burger King has got the taste but not the Love.
Lovemarks evolved from one insight: the Love/Respect Axis. A fast reality check. Tough. Intuitive. Accurate.
Four quadrants with three places you don’t want to be. Think about what you value in your own life.
So how does this work in the world of customers and marketing?
Low Respect and Low Love. The stuff you don’t care about unless it doesn’t work. The straightforward, low value transactions modern life is full of. Straight commodities like iron, oil, sand. Public utilities like Gas, Water and Drainage. Essential but zero brand heat.
Low Respect but High Love. Infatuations. This month’s fashionable gotta-haves. Youth clothing brands like Tommy Hilfiger. Movies with truckloads of merchandising. Spiderman. Music that comes and goes with this week’s magazines. A real mix: from the “we-love-them-but-won’t-admit-it”, to the “too-cool-to-survive” fads surging out of the United States.
High Respect and Low Love. This is where most major brands fit. This is where a lot of our clients are stuck. Great products, solid R&D, serious customer research. But all fixed on the “e-r” words: newer, brighter, stronger, bolder.
The problem? Great performance is what customers expect. More table-stakes. Cars start first time, the coffee is always hot, the t-shirts always black. Today everyone has to be here just to stay in the game.
High Respect and High Love – uncharted territory: the Love dimension of the Love / Respect axis. Here the breakthroughs are. Here we can make deep connections with customers. Here we can create Lovemarks.
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.
Time to put the “and” back into brand.
Toyota gets it. For decades their passion has been Respect – but they are hooking into emotion. We are now making major progress on Lovemarks together. We’ve developed the methodology, refined the processes and built the advertising we do globally 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, posting the largest sales growth of the top six manufacturers and finishing the year in the top three of U.S. car sales for the first time ever.
Senior Vice President at Toyota USA Don Esmond crystallized the new Toyota challenge: “It’s time to move from the most respected car company in America to the most loved.” That would put Toyota right here: High Love and High Respect. A Lovemark.
Saatchi & Saatchi has now completed two years of research into Lovemarks – their metrics, their relevance, their stories and their superior profit potential.
Brands can only evolve into Lovemarks with Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.
Mystery to draw together the stories, the metaphors, the icons that give a relationship its texture. Complexity, layers, revelations, intuition, humor and excitement.
Sensuality as a portal to the emotions. Vision, sound, hearing, touch, taste. This is how we experience the world.
And the warm breath of Intimacy. Empathy and inspiration lit up with passion. The intimate connections that are more important than ever.
To capture Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy, Saatchi & Saatchi created the Lovemarker. An intuitive tool to generate new insights and ideas. Saatchi & Saatchi people, clients, competitors, strategic gurus have all been inspired by analysis Lovemarks-style.
The 14 elements of the Lovemarker are a fantastic way to generate new ideas. To cut through assumptions. And to have the courage to tackle the toughest problems.
The first Lovemark zone is mystery. Mystery is taking centre-stage after the metric mania of the 20th century. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
Lovemarks do not just tell great stories, they listen for them, recognize them, and respond to them. Stories remind us why we care. They tie memory to experience; they color the present with the future. Love in the bank. Our client Lexus cherish the little girl born in a Lexus called – Isabella Alexus.
The second zone is sensuality. The five senses of vision, sound, smell, touch, taste that shape Lovemarks in the real world. Sensuality is a big idea that can change the way we see the world and how we relate to each other.
Think about taste with an open mind. I enticed Nike’s key retailers in the US into Lovemarks last month. Retail guys deal with real stuff and they got Lovemarks straight off. I asked about the taste of Nike Shoks. We agreed. Good enough to eat.
Places like Beirut are a sensualist’s delight. A cross-roads for the senses. We often put sight first, but never forget we have four genes for vision and 1,000 for smell. Smell is a hugely complex sense leading more directly to the emotions than eyes or ears. The fragrance and taste of thick strong coffee. The sting of anise. The sweetness of rose-water syrup.
The third zone is Intimacy. In our uncertain world the need for closeness and security is stronger than ever. Anticipating desires before they become needs – the hallmark of great service, great products, great romances.
Intimacy demands empathy. Without empathy you can’t do emotion and you can forget becoming a Lovemark. Car guys always ask each other, “How much metal did you move?” We changed the question for our friends at Toyota. “How much does the metal move you?”
To me the spirit of empathy is humor. If you can get a smile, even when times are tough, you’re on your way.
Act Local, Go Global
Lovemarks can’t be grafted onto business-as-usual. They need a fresh attitude to people and to place. Remember the tired split between Global and Local. Global companies were going to roll over the world in the 1990s. It never worked out that way. Instead you can feel a fantastic buzz and energy today. Its source is real live people living in real places – and loving them.
Art, music, fashion, design, sport – all the stuff people are passionate about has taken on the local with new enthusiasm. And we are all the richer for it. Designer Hussein Chalayan is a “fashion alchemist” from Cyprus and the coolest thing in London. Karim Rashid from Egypt is already a superstar among design aficionados in the US. Artist Shirin Nishat from Iran and now of New York creates spectacular video projections exploring issues of her native Islamic society, especially the position of women. The roster of great creative talent has surged outwards. Big surprise. We’ve circled the globe and found the best work is inspired by what is in our own backyards.
Remember “Think global, act local”? Well forget it. “Act Local, think global” is not much better. It’s right to start at the local, but “think” is all wrong. Thinking has become another table-stake. If you can’t get the thinking you can forget it. You are right out of the game.
What works better? “Act Local Go Global.” Action at both levels. For me it’s all about ‘and/and’. Saatchi & Saatchi has both local and global clients. Consumers love local stuff and they love global stuff. It’s dumb to set one up against the other and miss out on mega-opportunities.
Great ideas come from somewhere. To be successful you have to know who you are and what you stand for. We define ourselves by our differences – human beings always have. It’s how we are innovative, creative, exciting. People live in the local. And they love it there.
Anyone who wants to Go Global first has to come to grips with their local. The American experience is a signpost, not a rule-book. We are dealing with emotional power, not formulas.
First concentrate the essence of what you do. Take all its passion, pride and character – and set out to capture new hearts. It might be to the next country, to an entire region, to the rest of the world. Winners seize competitive advantage by getting unique ideas out there. Fast.
“Go Global” is shorthand for new opportunities in the growing complexity of international markets. And Lovemarks are the framework to make it happen.
Enter Saatchi & Saatchi’s tool One Word Equities. A One Word Equity is never a summary benefit. It is never driven by consistency and compromise. It leaps in another direction altogether. Colour. Truth. Sensuality. Inspiration.
The Equity in One Word Equities is always an Emotion. We’ve taken One Word Equities furthest with Toyota. This is how we integrate complex initiatives whether they are events, campaigns or nation-wide competitions. Not by command and control, but by inspiring the whole team with the same challenge. Some specifics.
- Landcruiser – Invincible
- Camry – Amazing
- And for the demo, a US Tacoma spot focused on the one word – Indestructible
Inspiration and Peak Performance
Lovemarks are about transforming brands but to do this we need a new kind of organization. A Peak Performing organization that is as committed to emotion as Lovemarks are.
Peak Performance is a powerful organizational change model with a simple goal: for people to become the best they can be. The research took four years.
I worked with academic colleagues in New Zealand to find out how organizations can keep getting better, how they can respond superbly to extreme pressure and how they keep going. Our big insight? Peak Performance demands the conviction that all of us can perform to the absolute peak of our abilities every day.
Lovemarks is the destination great brands must aspire to. Peak Performance is the process for getting there.
It’s not just about management and doing things right. It’s not just about leadership and doing the right things. What do all leaders need to succeed? Followers. Who here has “born to follow” tattooed on their arm? Play follow the leader and you get performance at about 20 percent of peak.
What makes a difference now is inspiration. Inspiration turns up the heat. Awakens people to action. Makes your organization special and loved so you can aspire to a Lovemark.
Inspiration arouses people’s long-term commitment to exceed their personal best. Not to exceed the performance measures, not the competition, but their personal best. To become Inspirational Players. The very term Inspirational Player sets people alight. Being a Manager or even a Leader is just another label. Stepping up to being an Inspirer – this demands personal transformation as part of organizational transformation.
People without passion or emotion never became great creatives, great entrepreneurs, great marketers, great fans.
I want to end with an action list. Four ideas to get started on right now to transform your organizations, your brands and yourselves.
- Act Local. People live in the Local so you need to be there too. Participating, connecting, understanding – and having fun. That’s my idea of meaningful research.
- Get intimate with Lovemarks. Check out my web sites saatchikevin.com and Lovemarks.com. Join the discussion, learn to live with love. Talk with Saatchi & Saatchi people. Test what you are doing against Lovemarks.
- Embrace emotion. Feel it yourself, don’t just analyze it in your customers. Scary? Sure, but humans are powered by emotion, not by reason. Emotions are where long-term connections are made.
- Become an Inspirational Player. You can all plug into that role. Commit yourselves to inspire others. And just as importantly, open up so others can inspire you. Become a force for good. For your clients, your colleagues, your customers, your country. Make a difference.