Kevin, what does it mean that ‘Marketing is dead. Strategy is dead. Management is dead’ – what new comes to replace outdated marketing, strategy and management and how all of us should act to develop business?
It means we are in an era where you have to be heavy on executing, light on contemplating. Most companies do it the other way around, but we live in the Age of Now. The switch for winning is moving from “getting things done” to “making things happen.”
Strategizing, managing and marketing are just too slow in the real time era. By the time you are through these cumbersome processes, the high-speed consumer has moved. So has your competition. They are in constant beta mode trying to stay with the consumer.
Ideas are today’s currency, not strategy, because ideas bring value at velocity. The companies that win will build a culture where the unreasonable power of creativity thrives. Get lots and lots of small ideas out there. Involve the people you interact with and they will make one of those ideas big. Forget marketing, and start inspiring. The job is to create a movement and inspire people to join you.
Speed wins. Chess Grand Master Savielly Tartakower said: “Tactics is what you do when there is something to do; strategy is what you do when there is nothing to do.”
What do you think about the meaning and deep sense of the O2O phenomenon and trend? Is it connected with the suggestion of some experts that ‘Digital is dead’ too? (they mean it still exists but doesn’t work anymore in the way we used to)?
Online to offline is part of a world where everything is digital. Digital is the platform. Emotion is the operating system. In this reality, mass communication has to be both personal and channel agnostic. A meaningful connection can start in a physical or virtual space. The winners create a synchronous seamless experience, a continuously unfolding narrative. People want brands that are there for them – when, where and how it counts. Brands have to connect digital, social, and mobile with storytelling, story sharing, and the idea. The winners will connect original content with consumers, where and when they want it, with the right cost model.
You have a great idea that ‘Big Data needs Big Emotion’. May I ask you to tell about the analytics-driven and emotion-driven tools and methods which Saatch&Saatchi considers as the most progressive in the new era of Big Data?
I don’t investigate the specific tools unless I see something revolutionary. The digital tools out there are all evolutionary. The industry is at an early point in bringing them together into the equation that will decide the future. This equation is IQ + EQ + TQ + BQ. First there is your intellectual quotient, a table stake. You need to be smart just to compete today. Your emotional quotient is the driver of competitive advantage. Your technological quotient is the platform. It will fail without EQ, the emotional quotient. And the whole process has to be BQ, “bloody quick!” The equation is powered by CQ, your creative quotient.
And the connected question about the concept of Big Emotion: what do you think about the risk that this ’emotional bull speculation’ finally will make people less sensitive and more cynical when they realise that cannot trust even their own emotions (because the’re artificial and their aim is business manipulation)?
The idea that business must bring emotional fulfillment to the center is not about manipulation. It’s about the opposite. It’s about handing power over to people, giving them what they love, being 100% honest, and sticking with them. A business that liberates and connects and shows it cares about people will earn premiums and win loyalty. People are in power today, not companies. A business that exploits people’s emotions in the Internet era is closing itself down.
It’s controversially that we mean the same ‘love’, we feel in personal relationships, while talking about the lovemarks. What actuallу means ‘love’ to brand? Do you see the meaning evolution of lovemark term? What makes us ‘love’ the brand today: do you notice new trends – what a company needs today and in further years to become a lovemark?
Of course, there are different degrees of love. This goes to the point. Big emotion is complex. There are endless textures of love relationship, and they extend beyond families and pets. If you infuse mystery, sensuality and intimacy – if you create what people care deeply about – then you can be loved. For a brand, to get love, first it has to give it.
This will never change because, across time, people are driven by the search for emotional benefits. You could be a soul mate, a movie star, a music player, a car, a perfume, a beer. Whatever your form, you can be loved if you connect to the heart. Being relevant has become a table stake. The job of today’s and tomorrow’s companies is to master emotional connectivity and become irresistible, a Lovemark.
‘Winning as a brand is not just about selling more. Notably, it’s also about selling for more’. In your opinion, what people need today and tomorrow – what will mean ‘for more’? What do you think about the idea of huge consumption model transition? If people are glutted with traditional consumption and if contemporary luxury is more and more non-material – how businesses can embrace this trend?
Superior performance at a value price is another table stake. The difference today is priceless value. Not price, not value, but priceless value. If you are priceless, then people will empty their wallets to have you in their life. Priceless value responds to the emotional question on lips today: “How will you improve my life?” Businesses and brands have to be priceless.
This is all about the experience, which is a deeply emotional quality. It’s not about balance or trade-offs. In terms of managing levels of material consumption, I don’t believe in enforcing limits on what people consume. The role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone. This is about creativity, innovation and inspiring people toward voluntary personal commitments to do one thing (DOT) to make a difference. When seven billion people do that, the progress will be massive.
Which fresh disruptive creative communication approaches and business innovations you observe travelling in different countries and cities?
The best approaches I see often involve reframes, great ideas that are enabled by technology. Some significant examples are Uber (urban transportation) and Airbnb (accommodation). I look for surprisingly obvious ideas. They are ideas that make you say: “Why didn’t I think of that?” Here are three surprisingly obvious approaches from the creative world of Saatchi & Saatchi:
- Problem: Children won’t wash their hands because they can’t see the germs. Solution: Make germs visible in the form of a simple stamp. Teachers stamped the hands of their students every day as a reminder. (Procter & Gamble’s Safeguard)
- Problem: HIV prejudice, low awareness. Solution: A men’s magazine produces an edition using ink infused with HIV-positive blood (100 percent-safe). (Vangardist)
- Problem: Sell more air conditioners. Solution: An online auction synced with the national meteorological service that ends when the temperature hits 40°C. (BGH air conditioners)
The new issue of Zillion Magazine is dedicated to the new important terms. Which terms naming the phenomena and trends you consider as most corresponding to zeitgeist and reflecting the things which matter in close years?
Looking ahead, I think mobile is the biggest ‘phenomenon’ out there. It will become the biggest platform of the future for advertisers. Tom Eslinger, who wrote “Mobile Magic: the Saatchi & Saatchi Guide to Mobile Marketing,” advocates ‘Mobile First’ for all marketing, such is the scale of interactions occurring. He uses a ‘MIST’ solution – all communication today must be Mobile, Intimate, Social and Transactional.
Overall, there is a major linguistic challenge ahead for companies. Revolution begins with language, and the challenge for businesses is to get their language right. Most companies have the wrong language. It’s too rational, predictable and boring.
The key is to find emotional language for a more emotionally-tuned world, and to get the tonality right for the brand. It’s not easy but you need to persist when you believe you’re doing the right thing. Twitter recently ran into negative feedback when it replaced its ★ symbol with a ♥, but in just one week since the heart symbol was released, ‘likes’ increased by 6% and total numbers of users have increased by 9% according to Twitter’s head of product, Kevin Weil.
Many people tell that you are a really good leader and very optimistic man. How can you describe your leading style? I would be grateful for the inspiring professional-personal story lesson from you for our readers. How you inspire people and why the clients love you – may I ask you about some advices?
I see the role of a leader as twofold: to create more leaders; and to inspire others to be the best they can be in pursuit of purpose. I try to inspire everyone I touch to discover and deliver their personal best. I lead people to bring out the greatness in them. People fundamentally are motivated by the same things and there are four things I give people in every conversation and in any circumstance: responsibility, learning, recognition and joy.
If you want peak performance, let people know what the plan is, give them responsibility to action it, shown them how to do it, and recognize them for their ability to perform. When I was climbing the ladder at Procter & Gamble, a guy called Herbert Schmitz unleashed me in this way. He said go fix P&G in the Middle East, Kevin. I was handed responsibility. He gave me some pointers. He promoted me twice. He made it fun. I shot out of the blocks and made things happen.