Closer to Love

Wednesday, 23 September 2009 - Rome, Italy

Creativity Kevin Roberts

Presentation Summary

Standing against the forces of darkness are creativity and innovation, connectivity and togetherness, inspiration and love. In a speech for Enel’s Orienta series in Rome, Kevin Roberts outlines his strategy to face this tough outlook and move into the Lovemarks “win zone”.

It’s fantastic to be here, and not just because I love Italy. Rome sings in my family’s blood. My daughter-in-law Clarissa is from Rome, my granddaughter Stella too!! Thanks Enel for the invite.

There’s light on the global horizon, but don’t expect the clouds of calamity to suddenly clear.

An ugly host is on the march.  Earth, sea and sky pollution, hunger, disease, war, crime and the financial outfall are brewing complex social crises.

Standing against the forces of darkness are creativity and innovation, connectivity and togetherness, inspiration and love. Sound familiar? Italians were made for times like these!!

Crisis opens the space for innovation. Disruption demands high orders of value creation. It’s your challenge.

The days of cheap credit, cheap energy and cheap ethics are gone. Free lunch times are over, so let’s start with the obvious. How to face such a tough outlook? How do you win every day?

It’s about Winning Ugly on top of your beautiful moves. Not by foul play, by stripping back everything you do to what makes a difference.

  • Face the truth. Sergio Marchionne did at Fiat. He tore the organizational structure apart in 60 days, promoting a younger group, many with a background in consumer marketing.
  • Act fast and decisively. Solve problems in three days: one day to identify the problem, one day to send the solution upstairs for approval, one to put it into action.
  • Reframe all your beliefs about value. If you don’t reframe, consumers will. P&G invited consumers to compare Tide Total Care with the costs of dry cleaning.
  • Control what’s controllable. Eliminating cost and waste aces any price reduction. To make up for a 5% price reduction, you need a 19% increase in sales. Not likely any time soon…
  • Measure only what matters. In advertising, only two questions matter: “Do I want to see it again?” and “Do I want to share this?”

I’m going to talk about winning the long game, about how to create and sustain value. As every Roman knows, this is fundamentally about Power.

Over the last decade power has been transferred to the people by technology, choice and competition.

At Internet speed, the people decide together whether you’re at parity or a passion, a brand or a Lovemark.

  • Brands are owned by management, marketers and stockholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.
  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are created out of Love and Respect.
  • Brands build Loyalty for a Reason. Lovemarks inspire Loyalty Beyond Reason, and beyond Recession.
  • Great Brands are Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are Irresistible.

The Love / Respect Axis keeps life simple:


  • Low Respect. Low Love. Raw materials, raw actions, raw experiences. Basic commodities, dollar stores, social polluters, US Airlines.
  • High Love. Low Respect. The creative zone of “NEW” and “NOW.” Fads fizz then flop. Some fads leap to Lovemarks, or get serious as brands: Text messaging, once a kid’s fad, generates $100b a year in revenue for telcos.
  • High Respect. Low love. “e-r” words: faster, bigger… cheaper. Here’s where most investment has gone over the past 50 years, where brands battle, where Green has raised the respect bar, but not the roof.
  • High Love and High Respect. Lovemarks – authentic and bringing joy to people’s lives.

This is the win zone. In sustainability, it’s where responsibility becomes inspiration, where Green is “built in” as a way of living, breathing and doing. We call it BLUE.

Let’s explore five ways to create Lovemarks…


This is the role of business, and the challenge of every institution, organization and enterprise.

Everything starts with a Dream, because a dream gives purpose. It is the force for great change. Inside, outside and across organizations, a dream inspires the people to your cause, and it travels. Martin Luther King did not say: “I have a Mission Statement.”

Winners deliver a dream into the everyday. They take their audience higher. In software, think Google. In travel, think Richard Branson. In architecture, think Frank Gehry.

The Inspirational Dream is at the heart of all great endeavors.

A purpose that makes the world a better place travels across environment, economy, society and culture. It changes the language, to change the conversation.

The Green platform is about missions and metrics, about planet not people, fuelled by fear. Top down frameworks matter but won’t solve the energy, hunger, water, habitat or ensuing social crises.

Saatchi & Saatchi shifted the language from Green to Blue, to start a ground-up revolution. Green asks “What’s to be done?”BLUE asks “What can I do?”

  • Saatchi & Saatchi S has a BLUE movement called DOT, do one thing. The heart of True Blue is to inspire people to make the best choices for themselves and for the planet. It’s the power of one to the power of billions.
Examples: Do 50 push-ups a day – at work; bike to work three times a week; wash clothes in cold water; plant a vege garden; recycle every bottle.
  • Walmart has a movement that will change the world from inside the supply chain. They have 100 000 suppliers and have started a mandatory disclosure process that will label for shoppers the sustainability impact of products across their life span.

Language is the key. New language stirs new understandings, and new thinking, new possibilities.


Winners think with their hearts, they unleash emotion.

  • Obama said “yes we can,” and won the Presidency, a brilliant social campaign.
  • Google said “yes you can,” and this freedom from control got a billion dollar revenue stream.
  • Nelson Mandela showed “we all can”. He created an untouched place in our imagination.

Emotion pulls everyone and everything together. Reason blows it apart!!! Most ideas get strangled at birth or processed into pulp.

In this “new frugality” people are reframing through their emotions. They are evaluating more, trying more, comparing more, and contemplating switching more. Online themselves, and online through others.

The potential of emotion to create higher order value is unlimited. People are 80% emotion, 20% reason.

Reason leads to conclusions. Emotion leads to action.


The world is buried in information and starving for insights. Most insights are old facts in new packets.

If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo…go to the jungle. Get out of the office, the meeting room, the classroom, and uncover a revelation.

If your discovery doesn’t astonish you, it’s not a revelation. It has to blow you away. To win in any field, start with an astonishing disclosure of truth.

This is the Age of the Idea, where ideas separates winners from losers, where Italians were born to work and play….

The key is to match revelation with the unreasonable power of creativity. Unleash a Big Idea across every human touch point – and watch it catch fire.

The future of creativity? Participation. Ideas big enough to invite your audience into the story, and then let them continue it.

Inform Engage Inspire
One-to-many Many-to-one Many-to-many
Distraction Reaction Interaction
Return on Investment Return on Integration Return on Involvement
Market Audience Movement

The more people participate in an idea, the bigger it gets. Participation Economy Examples:

  • Lego’s Mindstorms NXT (latest game for building programmable robots) for teenage boys was inspired by online adult Lego fans.
  • Nintendo Wii invited multi-generations to participate in the category by enabling interaction on an emotional level.
  • T-Mobile’s Dance captured the moment, and with “Life is for Sharing” poured in joy.


Brands are built off performance, trust and sustainability.  Lovemarks infuse this with mystery, sensuality and intimacy.

  • Mystery – mixes dreams, icons and stories to create and share the attractions of the unknown.
    Example: Milan, Fiat, and designer Fabio Novembre mixed it up on the Montenapoleone with Car Shaped Planters.
  • Sensuality –Sight, scent, touch, taste and sound are the portals to the emotions. Excite all five.
    Example: Apple stores take in around $4,000 in revenue per square foot of retail space. At Saks, $700.
  • Intimacy – In down times, intimacy is the king connector. It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture that wins Loyalty Beyond Recession.
    Example: Tylenol: advice for a headache? Drink a glass of water, wait 20 minutes – and if you still have one then take Tylenol.

Intimacy is empathy, commitment and passion


Value insights from Saatchi & Saatchi

  • “I don’t just want things that have value, I want them to reflect what I value.”
    It’s what the brand adds to my world.
  • “I’m into the challenge of finding creative solutions.”
    Ingenuity is the new innovation.
  • “Little victories give me more satisfaction than ever.”
    A reward is beating the system and getting something extra.
  • “I’m sorting true value from false economies.”
    People want smart abundance, not rubbish.
  • “I’m not cutting back on luxuries, I’ve just redefined what luxuries are.”
    People still treat themselves, just not in the same way.

Consumer power is reframing the notion of value, and it’s not about price. Price is what companies put on the tag. Value is what lifts her world, a priceless feeling you deliver – a Lovemark.

Priceless value can be surprisingly obvious. Netflix delivered DVDs to the door rather than making customers come to them.

Priceless value can also be a jump shift. Private jet company Flexjet reframed its private jets from a luxury item to a valuable business tool, from status-orientated cost center to common sense transport investment.

In tough times, first deliver comfort of certainty.

FREDA summarizes my comments today, and points out Five Ways to get the future first:

  • F is for Focus. Focus on priceless feelings, Uncover the difference between how you think about your audiences, and how they feel about themselves, families and friends. Enel is onto it: “Energy in tune with you.”
  • R is for Reinvention. Find your Inspirational Dream – share it.  Embrace the paradox of good value and being bigger than a brand.
  • E is for Execution. Deliver the last detail at every touch point. Serve with brio.
  • D is for Distribution. Steve Jobs said “Great artists ship”. Italy’s inventive capacity is second to none. Unleash it across Screens.

Fact: more than 60% of online Europeans now engage with social media on a regular basis, and in Europe, Italy has the most “creators” of social media content.

  •  is for Accountability. Burn all Italian red tape with RASCI. The best accountability system is R for responsible, A for approver, S for support, C for consult, I for inform.

It’s time to lead – and let others follow.

How to Win in the Age of Now


Spanning creativity, leadership and execution, Kevin Roberts’ presentation to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Wellington Chapter is an inspirational primer in: Wanting to Win, Ways to Win Now and Ways to Keep Winning – the secrets of Peak Performance so that winning becomes a habit.

Up, Up and Away – Rotary Newmarket


Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, talks to the Newmarket Rotary Club about Winning in the Age of Now, and how to turn a brand into an irresistible Lovemark for the next generation.

Start Me Up


Kevin Roberts gives keynote speech at the 6th Annual Global Competitiveness Forum “The Entrepreneurship Imperative” held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sharing three ways to win in the region.

Set Fire To The Rain


In this presentation to Spotlight On Lancaster at Lancaster University, Kevin Roberts talks about enabling, energizing and activating creative partnerships and achieving Vibrant, Crazy, Unreal and Astounding impact.

Brighter Than Sunshine


Presenting to AAC Saatchi & Saatchi in Bermuda, Kevin Roberts shares three key ideas on connecting people around ideas that create Loyalty Beyond Reason.

Magic Time


In this presentation to EmoDay in Amsterdam, Kevin Roberts shares five key ideas on emotional innovations and creating Lovemarks.

Just Can’t Get Enough


Presenting to the Institute of Development Professionals in Education in Oxfordshire, Kevin Roberts presents three ideas on creating Loyalty Beyond Reason and creating frameworks for development discussions.