Livin' in the Future
In this address to Saatchi & Saatchi clients and employees in Brussels, Kevin Roberts shares five ways to Win Ugly in 2009 by creating priceless Lovemarks value.
The future arrived last year and it’s not pretty. There’s no money, anywhere. The watering hole is dry and every animal is breathing hard. No one gets to sit this one out. Hunters get to live, farmers get to die, vultures and bankruptcy lawyers get to feed. The job is to win “ugly”, everyday.
Five fighting keys:
1. Expect the unexpected, and revel in that.
2. Control the Controllables.
3. Focus on what’s core.
4. Stamp Nothing is Impossible on your forehead.
5. Act fast and decisively.
Consumers seized power from manufacturers and retailers half a decade ago. The Consumer is Boss, and she knows it. As the global economy tanks, consumers are turning up the heat. They know that price is on the tag and value is something different. It’s a sensation consumers are redefining daily by:
• Reevaluating old ways of choosing and using.
• Juggling opposites: indulgence AND health; novelty AND familiarity; shopping more AND spending less.
• Connecting online like never before.
The job ahead is to connect more effectively, more deeply and more emotionally. Because emotion drives response. When everything is less, give them more. More than a product, more than a service, more than a brand. The emotional leap is an attraction equation:
At Saatchi we call this Lovemarks. The tougher it gets, the stronger these special bonds become. Think Belgian Beer, worshipped locally and loved globally.
• Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are created out of Love and Respect.
• Brands are owned by managers and shareholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.
• Brands create Loyalty for a reason. Lovemarks create Loyalty Beyond Reason.
The Love / Respect Axis maps the territory.
Low Respect. Low Love. Commodities without differentiation. US Airlines, now banks are here. Current view: “It’s not really what I want, but it’s cheap.”
High Love. Low Respect. The creative zone of “NEW” and “NOW.” Fun, fast and fizzing. Some fads break through to Lovemarks. Little black dress through to text messaging. Current view: “This is fun, but do I really need it?”
High Respect. Low Love. “e-r” words: faster, bigger… cheaper. Current view: “This is good value, but I could live without it if I had to.”
High Love and High Respect. Lovemarks – authentic, simple – and loved. Current view: “I’ll make sacrifices before I give this up.”
Lovemarks are real. Lovemarks uses three secrets to draw people into your world and cultivate loyalty for life.
Mystery starts with stories unfolding through past, present and future. In tough times people are looking for the reassurance of the familiar and discovery of the unknown. New luxuries, little victories, big surprises, and belly laughs. The storytelling power of unknown journeys wins - Obama’s story of the 106-year-old women’s journey to the digital voting machine.
Sensuality. Sight, sound, smell, touch and taste are portals to the emotions. In recession, small comforts and indulgences are king. In technology it’s Nintendo’s sense-shifting Wii and Apple’s circular touch-wheel control on the iPod. In food, it’s got to be Belgian chocolate.
Intimacy. It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture that takes loyalty beyond reason. Intimacy is empathy, commitment and passion wrapped around a big idea. With Love the Skin you’re in, Olay’s empathy surged into the Massige market. And humor goes to the heart of intimacy.
Lovemarks was created in rough times for tough times. It helps reveal new ways to recognize and create value.
Let’s go through five ways to create priceless Lovemarks value.
#1. SURPRISE WITH THE OBVIOUS
By turning just one degree, companies can find something fresh. They forget that authentic human truths have to be constantly rediscovered. The blind-spots of the everyday open up fantastic opportunities to surprise consumers with the obvious through curiosity and empathy.
Curiosity to find out what consumers want, and empathy to understand how to give it to them. Don’t rely on research for this. If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo, go to the jungle. To surprise with the obvious, is to understand how consumers feel.
• Prius with the button start ignition – added value with experience not process.
• Virgin Airlines offered meals when we felt like having them, not on the airline’s schedule.
• Netflix delivered DVDs to the door rather than making customers come to them.
• Livestrong visualized the obvious desire to declare our beliefs.
#2. KNOW YOUR TRUE VALUE
As consumers search for value, our own values matter more. Your values define what is core to you and what is not, and that’s emotional.
• Target and Walmart got it right, combining price commitment with a better living promise.
• The Obama campaign never wavered from “Change we can believe in.”
• For Saatchi & Saatchi it’s an unswerving belief in the power of an Idea. In this economy, a big transformational idea is the only thing that will win.
#3. JUMP SHIFT VALUE
Consumers love to compare value, especially when their lifestyle is under pressure. It’s an opportunity to shift choice through higher order comparisons.
• P&G invited consumers to compare their new product Tide Total Care with dry cleaning.
• Tata Nano compared their launch not with another car, but a scooter. The world’s cheapest new car.
• iTunes shifted the frame from buying music by the album to buying it by the track.
• KFC put up a $10 challenge to prove the food they serve is cheaper than home cooking.
• Flexjet reframed its private jets from a luxury item for rich people to a valuable business tool, from cost to investment.
• Saatchi & Saatchi recast Green as Blue.
#4. TAKE THE LONG VIEW
Lovemarks thrive in the rough because they take the long view. With love in the bank, they can take the hits. Loyalty beyond Reason is stored in people’s hearts not folded away in their wallets. The key is to exceed expectations.
Toyota may be the only car company to emerge from this tunnel on its own steam. They have gained market share during each of the three major economic downturns of the past 20 years:
• By continuing to launch new products.
• By investing in strong brand and marketing activities.
• By going hard on rational value and priceless emotional value.
The Michelin Guide has been the driver’s guidebook to France since 1900.
MyStarbucksIdea.com - set up as part of a long-term reinvention effort - got more than 100,000 posts and ideas in the first week. Take the long view.
#5. MAKE IT IRRESISTIBLE
Great brands are irreplaceable. Lovemarks are irresistible.
• Apple stores take in $4000 of revenue per square foot of retail space. At Saks it’s around $700. Where’s the real value? It’s in Apple people interacting with shoppers.
• Charmin restrooms provide the ultimate personal service in New York’s Times Square for a few weeks wrapped in winter wonderland theming, a boutique, family photo area and baby changing station.
• T-Mobile has set up a network of branded mobile phone charging stations at airports. A valued service when travellers need it most.
Sustainable value is created by wrapping products in relevance and service and emotion.