Friday, April 4, 2008

Great insights from Kevin Roberts

Here's a great interview from Kevin Roberts' the iconic CEO of Saatchi& Saatchi and influential creator of the concept of lovemark. Roberts' intelligent insights show that established agencies have
caught up on the core issues of today's marketing and communications,
something that will increasingly be a true competitive challenge to the
new palyers who emerged during the past 5-8 years. In fact, these new
players emerged as a result of radical change in the business
environment and for many of them success was predicated on their
ability to get to the future first. That was easy because they had no
legacy practices, but that is no longer the case and hence their
survival is entirely dependent on their ability to reach critical mass
or to remain on the "bleeding edge" of innovation in marketing and

Some highlights:

  • consumer is king and an empowered one, which has led to a dramatic shift in the power balance between brands and consumers. To me that echoes my belief in the primacy of people in business, one of the central tenets of Business Quests' approach.

  • there are three critical dimensions to lovemarks, none of which is discussed in MBA programs as Roberts correctly points out: mystery, sensuality and intimacy

  • agencies need to move closer to consumers on an individual basis rather than in the traditional "mass market" kind of way. In doing that they will need to combine "right brain" and "left brain" thinking: analytical insight into the ways individuals "operate" and creative foresight to actually understand the consumer's behavior. "If you want to know about lions you have to go to the jungle, not to the zoo", says Roberts;

  • we are in the screen age: people spend an incredible proportion in front of screens that are increasingly networked, interactive and mobile;

  • 85% of consumer decisions are made in store and in an age when differences in product quality is less and less significant the emotional connection between an individual and a brand will actually tilt the balance of consumer decisions;

  • "it's all about getting to the future first".

Roberts' also made a point about access to information and knowledge no longer being limited to the chosen few and therefore access alone is not a competitive edge as it used to be. To me, this means that the life of service providers like big name consulting companies, well-known agencies and other advisors has become considerably more complex. Their success hinges more on how they'll use knowledge rather than on how much access they have to it. That does create an interesting world.

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