Blaze of Glory

Monday, 24 April 2006 - Copenhagen, Denmark

Fire Blaze Glory Kevin Roberts

Presentation Summary

Lovemarks Denmark MBA Lecture: What is the role of business? What do companies run on? Where are we now? What comes next? What’s the secret of success? What gets you to innovation? How do you get explosive growth? Who will be the next rock stars? Copenhagen Business School MBAs get the answers.

I’m going to ask eight questions.

#1: What is the Role of Business?

If you want to change the world, business is the place to be, Business is the big game, the engine of human progress. We lead it out into the world to make a difference. We go where angels, politicians and preachers fear to tread. We jump shift humanity.

  • 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 creates jobs, choices, opportunities and self-esteem.
  • Business unleashes innovation. The purpose of innovation is to improve to lives.

“The secret of happiness is to find something bigger than yourself and then devote your life to it.” – Dan Dennett, Philosopher

Return on Investment is now Return on Involvement

#2: What do Companies Run on?

ADLIB: KR Discusses the difference between management, leadership and inspiration, and discusses Dreams, Beliefs, Sprit and Focus.

#3: Where are we Now?

“Everything is evaluated as good or bad within a quarter of a second of seeing it” – John Bargh, New York University psychologist.

We’ve hurtled through the Information Economy, Knowledge Economy, Interruption Marketing (aka the Mass Market), Permission Marketing, the Experience Economy, the Attention Economy… to the Attraction Economy.

Interruption Engagement
Directors Connectors
One-to-many Many-to-one
Reactive Interactive
Return on Investment Return On Involvement
Heavy Users Inspirational Consumers
Big promises Intimate gestures
What you need What I want

The hottest career opportunities lie in the Attraction Industries – entertainment, packaging, interactivity, research, marketing, innovation, telecommunications, event creation, publishing, talent, in store, tourism, hospitality, design gaming.

#4: What Comes Next?

Commodification has frozen the heat out of brands. The consumer is boss.

Differentiation is beyond reason – beyond efficiency, attribute, benefit, performance, functionality. Tablestakes all of them!! Just a ticket to trade.

People are 80% emotion and 20% reason. We live and die for love. That’s where premium value lives.

  • Lovemarks have Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.

Mystery note: New consumer research from Pennsylvania shows people love live TV, especially sports, because they like the sense of indeterminacy. Inspired by an MBA class that revolted when their final exam was scheduled during a World Cup match. The MBAs even refused to have the match replayed straight after their exam.

Sensuality note: Smell-o-vision!! Japan NTT Communications Corp will synchronize seven different smells to parts of the movie The New World, starring Colin Farrell. The smells waft from under the seats by mixing oils in special scent machines.

  • Lovemarks are built on Love and Respect.
  • Lovemarks create Loyalty Beyond Reason
  • Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them, not by companies.
  • Lovemarks can be everything that people care deeply about. Visit for thousands of examples. Flags, shoes, magazines, breakfast cereals, beer.
  • Lovemarks are more than Irreplaceable. They are irresistible.
  • Lovemarks are created by people with emotional energy, with emotional intelligence, with emotional desire.

#5: What’s the secret of success?

Open-source software, shifting consumer demands, and global outsourcing make speed-to-market the order of the day. Velocity is not about more meetings!!

Tom Peters gets close: “Act now think later – then at least you’ve got something to think about!” Do you make 20 decisions a day and get 5 wrong or make three cautious ones? Make three a day and the market will leave you for dead. You’ll only get two right anyway!

The answer is Pursue Failure.

Fail fast and fail cheaply. Fix fast and keep moving. VC legend John Doerr made millions on Sun, Palm, Amazon and Google. Before this were failures like Go Corp.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!!

In the real world of business you must marry the seat of your intellect to the seat of your pants. Only through taking risks, through daring to believe in the dream, do we open the possibility for magnificent success.

Francis Ford Coppola says it’s not a gamble unless you go all the way. Spontaneous recklessness is a beautiful thing!! Don’t look for the secure solution. Don’t pull back from passion.

#6: What gets you to innovation?

Innovation has to lead to profit, otherwise the idea stays an invention. As Nobel Physicist Arno Penzias says: “Innovation changes the life of the customer, or the world in which the customer experiences things.”

Great innovations deliver a quintuple bottom line: profit, share, preference, market cap and sustainability, all based around consumer experience,

Great innovation is surprisingly obvious: NASA spent millions trying to develop a pen that would write in space. The Russians simply used a pencil.

Three creativity pointers:

  1. Find the right language. The world comes in a word!! The right word can create higher orders of relationship, business, product, service, design, and performance. Alan Webber: it can create whole new paradigms and categories. L ook for embedded language. Edge in knowledge. Action in Attraction. Key words direct people and inspire their ideas.
  2. Trampolining! Bill Gates is said to do it. Showertime, beachcombing, air travel, staring out to sea, staying up late and going shopping are productive for connecting disparate factors to get breakthrough ideas. Archimedes had his Eureka moment in the bath!
  3. Be ferociously curious The Google boys were obsessed with backlinks! Curiositydrives the best questions. “Why are we sailing into an iceberg?” would have been a good one to ask on the bridge of the Titanic. Collect and treasure wrong answers. The wrong answer is just the right answer in search of a different question.

#7: How do you get explosive growth?

Boundaries are collapsing. Categories are blurring. Entire new industries are emerging.

Avoid the centre. Darwin said: “nature favors the extremes.” Live on the Edge. Edge is metaphorical, biological and geographical. Hot new stuff comes from the Edge of a species, not its centre. Innovation always comes from the fringes in the arts, the edges of conformity in business and in social attitudes. .

The challenge is to create, build and market new Edges. It’s And / And not Either / Or.

  • Starbucks – Home and Work. Coffee and music
  • iPod – Business modeling ($1 a song) and networking (music companies) and branding (white buds and wires)
  • Lego – Mindstorms by in house designers and by Brickheads (Inspirational Consumers)
  • Toyota – Short and long term. Cost reduction and innovation. Competitive and Open. Gas and Electric.

Edge Example: To boost Pringles potato chips into double digits in North America P&G found a professor in Bologna who’d invented an ink jet method for printing edible images on cakes. Pop culture on your chips is an unmet need!!

The more difficult the marriage, the better!! To get explosive growth, unleash the power of paradox.

Build complex opposites together with equal passion so they enhance each other and take you to a place neither dreamed possible. Instead of the best of neither, you get a new solution, better than both!! Zero compromise.

#8: Who will be the next rock stars?

I agree with Danish futurist Rolf Jensen, “The highest-paid person in the first half of this century will be the story-teller. The value of the products will depend on the story they tell.”

The story is an ancient, mysterious and timeless art. Most business people are caught up in the technology. An engaging story well told is priceless.

Two big opportunities for storytelling are breaking. The first is OnScreen, Screens are morphing. TV is becoming more game-like, mobile phones more TV-like, in-store screens more movie-like, even computer screens are attracting.

The challenge in the digital revolution is to bring technology, marketing and creativity together with what we call Sisomo, sight, sound and motion.

sisomo is ideas and potent connections ahead of technology. It brings screens to life in emotional and compelling ways, It’s about m ulti-layered, multi-purpose stories. Stories consumers can be absorbed by, play with, add to, recreate, and spread virally.

The second big opportunity for storytelling is theatre.

Business is itself story, one that is just getting started.

The best stories – the ones that survive – will compete for everyone. They will move everyone forward.

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