Walk Through the Fire

The average age at Saatchi & Saatchi is 27, and they drive our business worldwide. So feel good, because the future belongs to young people like you, people who are restless, passionate and competitive. And we have 20% turnover per year.  So every five years, I have a new company and every year there’s lots of new job openings and opportunities for talented dreamers.

Most of you are studying advertising or communicating. Today this business is about “connecting” and “connectivity,” so let’s change gear. The future is about making emotional connections, where Peruvians excel. One reason I’m in Peru is that last year our agency here startled the world by winning 3 Cannes Lions. This emotional future lies in coming up with ideas simple enough, big enough and brave enough to be brought to life over time in many or any media.

Your challenge is to become a Creative Connector in the Age of the Idea.

I’m going to share five ways to be a Creative Connector, and four ways to fast track your career.


1. Start with Emotion

Power is shifting away from brands and retailers towards consumers, towards living breathing people.  The answer always lies with what drives people, what brings us and holds us together. We now know from countless pointless studies that emotion drives every decision we make.

People are about 80% emotion, 20% reason. We want to be listened to, to share stories, to hang out together. As commodification squeezes the life out of brands, the one true connector – our heart – is what counts. Neurologist Donald Calne sums up: “Reason leads to conclusions. Emotion leads to action.”

2. Enter the Attraction Economy

From Information Economy, Knowledge Economy, Interruption Marketing (aka the Mass Market), Experience Economy, Attention Economy to the Attraction Economy.

3. Use the Reality Check

  • Low Respect. Low Love. Commodities and utilities. No one wants to be here. To experience this, fly on a US airline.
  • High Love. Low Respect. Fads and infatuations. Hero to zero. Paris Hilton, Jo Lo jean, Al Gore dancing the Macarena in the 1990s. This zone is a terrific launch pad for massive growth if you can convert. Examples are mobile phones, texting, and Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize with PowerPoint.
  • High Respect. Low Love.  Where “e-r” words rule: faster, better, cheaper. In developing markets, lower price and better quality can be differentiators, but only for so long.
  • High Love. High Respect. Lovemarks where the future lies. Higher margins. Fantastic experience. Sustainable differentiation. Irresistible appeal. Loyalty Beyond Reason.

4. Create Lovemarks

Lovemarks are the future beyond brands. From products to trademarks to brands to Lovemarks.

  • Brands create loyalty for a reason. Lovemarks create Loyalty Beyond Reason.
  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are built on Love and Respect.
  • Brands are owned by managers, marketers and shareholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.
  • Great brands are Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are Irresistible.

Brands invest in Trust, Performance and Reputation. Lovemarks involve with Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.

Mystery is where past, present and future come together. It’s what we don’t know that attracts.  Icons and dreams and magic and stories. The story is an ancient, mysterious and timeless art. Danish futurist Rolf Jensen: “The highest-paid person in the first half of this century will be the story-teller.” An engaging story well told is priceless.

Sensuality. Lovemarks excite all five senses. Sight, sound, smell, touch and taste are portals to the emotions. Starbucks was built on sensuality – and became the fastest-growing retail story of all time. Apple sold its original iMac with tangerine taste. Yum!

And Intimacy. Empathy, commitment and passion. It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture that takes loyalty beyond reason.

5. Win with sisomo

Screens have got smart, mobile and connected. What matters most in the virtual reality is what comes through the screen. Sight, sound and motion, the world’s most potent connector. People don’t mind convergence, as long it converges on them. Technology is an enabler not a connector. Keep the technology behind the screen, and pull people through it. Sisomo is the campfire of the 21st century, and global forces spread it like a forest fire. It’s about heat and it’s about passion, not plastic and pixels.


Fast Track 1 – Have a Dream

Whether you’re talking organization or individual, brand building or career building, an inspirational dream is one of the most powerful forces for change. Martin Luther King did not say I have a mission statement, and nor should you. By daring to believe in a dream, and taking the risks that this entails, we open the possibility for magnificent success. Dreams are excessive so be excessive, never moderate. It’s not a gamble unless you go all the way. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! Without the dream, all the practical stuff in the world won’t add up to enough. Turn your passion on full force.

Fast Track 2 – Be an Inspirational Player

Business is about inspiration, not management or simple leadership, which requires followers. It’s about being the best you can be, about helping others to do the things they thought were just beyond their grasp, so that the team wins. Inspiration means giving your all – and you feel great doing it. It is how you stay positive, optimistic and happy. Inspiration banishes cynicism, boredom, fear and embarrassment. I want you to walk out of here as Inspirational Players. There’s no future in being a follower.

Fast Track 3 – Join a Company Who Gets It

  • Responsibiliy
  • Learning
  • Recognition
  • Joy

Fast Track 4 – Make the World a Better Place

Business is the big game, the engine of human progress, and as creative connectors, you drive that engine to market. You lead it out into the world to make a difference. So you’re in the right place! What is the Role of Business? The role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone. Business plans, connects, and dreams the global flow of goods, ideas and experiences. Business innovates and creates jobs, choices, opportunities, and self-esteem.

Peru has many challenges, from widespread poverty to melting and shaking mountains, but the economy is rising, life is lifting, and smiles are widening. The Inspirational Player is the key. Break the big job down into smaller jobs. Pick three you can do something about as a connector. Do them. Then pick three more. Like water wearing away a mountain one drip at a time, there are few problems that can’t be solved if enough people commit themselves.

Philosopher Dan Dennett has said: the secret of happiness is to find something bigger than yourself and then devote your life to it. The greatest thing you can do with your life is to be an inspiration to others. Start now – before it’s too late.