Every Breath You Take

Wednesday, 16 March 2011 - Bogota, Colombia

Breath Columbia Kevin Roberts

Presentation Summary

Speaking at the 2011 Expomarketing Conference in Bogotá, Colombia, Kevin Roberts shares six ideas on creating Lovemarks in Colombia.

Hola Colombia!! It’s my first time here, first time in Bogotá – what a feeling. Here the Pacific meets the Caribbean and the Amazon meets the Andes, and Colombia is opening out into the world. You’re an edge country, like my home New Zealand.

Fifteen percent of the world’s oxygen comes from your side of the rainforest – no wonder you’re happy!!! Happiness is emotional oxygen – we can’t live without it. Colombia and its Latin American neighbours routinely feature in the top 10 of world happiness surveys. Latino passion for life is legendary.

It’s a seven hour flight from New York to Bogotá but the places are a million miles apart. North Americans love stuff. South Americans love life. Here happiness is friends and family. Agony is losing to world champions Spain on the football pitch in the 89th minute!!

We live in an up-swinging but hard-hitting VUCA world.

Volatile / Uncertain / Complex / Ambiguous

Social revolutions and jobless generations, earth tremors and floods, food inflation and oil shocks … globally we witness it; locally we feel it.

As marketers your challenge is to feel the pulse of the people and to deliver experiences that set that pulse racing. Don’t think satisfaction; feel excitement, deliver adrenaline.

Beneath the tweeting revolutions there’s a bigger power shift. The CRIBS and CIVETs (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa) are having the Western economies for lunch. In 10 years the E7 – the major emerging economies – will pass the G7. New consumer markets are taking off, populations are maturing, discretionary spending is growing, and Colombia is at the heart of it.

While power shifts, consumers everywhere are re-imagining VUCA. The VUCA that people want from you is

Vibrant / Unreal / Creative / Astounding.

This radically optimistic VUCA is born of the Age of Now, when the “always-on” people manage the constant pressures of life and tsunamis of information and media by living right in the moment.

Psychology tells us that people are happiest living in the Now, not dwelling on past regrets or getting lost in day dreams.

This Age of Now does not suffer marketing. Marketing is dead. We’ve shifted from an Attention Economy – selling by yelling – to a Participation Economy – selling by involving.

Attention Participation
Inform Inspire
Interruption Interaction
One-to-many Many-to-one
Return on Investment Return on Involvement
Local Global
Market Movement

Three questions matter:

  • Do I want to see it again?
  • Do I want to share it?
  • Do I want to improve it?

In the Age of Now, like is not enough. Winners create brands that are loved and shared at warp speed: Lovemarks.

  • 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 Respect and Love.
  • Brands build Loyalty for a Reason. Lovemarks inspire Loyalty Beyond Reason. Beyond Attribute, Benefit. Loyalty Beyond Recession.
  • Great Brands were Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are irresistible. Marketers need to ask if they’re helping to make your brand irreplaceable or irresistible?
  • PC / MAC
  • MP3 / iPod
  • Pop Stars / Shakira !!

iPad? Oh boy, irresistible.


  • Low Respect. Low Love. From raw materials, raw experiences. US airlines.
  • High Love. Low Respect. The creative zone of “NEW”, “NOW”, “GONE”. Some fads leap to Lovemarks. Most don’t.
  • High Respect. Low Love. Those “e-r” words again. Where brands wage wars around performance, respect and trust.
  • High Love and High Respect. Lovemarks, fun and joyful and deeply involving. From Levi jeans to Aguila beer (for many) to premium Colombian coffee loved the world over. Here’s an example.

Colombians’ passion for life was made for Lovemarks, and from today Lovemarks will fire that passion here in Colombia.

I can officially announce the worst kept secret in Bogota and still scorching hot news. Saatchi & Saatchi the Lovemarks Company is now open for business here, led by Esteban Carvajal (MD) and Juan Pablo Navas … Show time in Colombia!!

Let’s light the fire with six ideas for one and all to create Lovemarks in Colombia.


Marketing has been all about the product as hero, but the ground has shifted to consumer as hero. Her biggest question is: “How will you improve my life?”

This means understanding and responding to how she feels about her life, what is important to her, the truths about her problems and passions. It means shifting emphasis from selling product to adding experience and pumping excitement. Fiat 500 can charge a 30% premium based on a feeling.

The great brands are “Purpose-inspired; benefit driven,” just like their audience. They involve people in something bigger than themselves, while delivering moments of joy and exhilaration.

P&G beams it out with “Touching lives, improving life.” It’s a Lovemarks way of thinking, an accelerated switch from price-focused value to priceless value.

Caution Courage
Deliver Delight
Transaction Relationship
Cut Commit
Rational Emotional

Priceless value is as ancient as modern. Excavating the ruins of the Roman town of Pompeii archaeologists found a well preserved bakery. Inside were 60 carbonised loaves. Above it was a travertine slab with the inscription: “This is where happiness lives.”

As brands fade out and Lovemarks fade in, the entire human future is being created out of emotion, emotional health, happiness, partnership, experience, inclusion, fun and joy.

Emotion is how people decide, how to start conversations and rouse movements. Emotion is the key to better decisions, to stronger value, to higher margins and profit.

In the Now, emotion is king. Donald Calne “Reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action.”


If you want to know how a tiger hunts, don’t go to the zoo, go to the jungle. Go Xploring.

  • Information – Knowledge – Insight – Foresight
  • Information – Knowledge – REVELATION – Foresight

INSIGHT: Men are the ones who mostly buy nappies
REVELATION: If you want to sell more beer, put it in the nappy aisle

INSIGHT: To develop a pen that could write in space, NASA spent millions on advanced technology.
REVELATION: The Russians used a pencil!

INSIGHT – Virtue and vice go together.
REVELATION Pair endcaps of vitamins with … candy, the wicked reward!


It’s not about the brand or product, it’s about the unreasonable power of creativity. Failure to invest in this through bust or boom is fatal.

Adidas saw its income climb 130% last year because it had the courage to invest in innovation in a tough market.

The future rewards the “what if?” questions:

  • McDonald’s asked “what if we make people healthy?”
  • BMW asked “what if we go into services?”
  • Toyota asked “what if we create hybrid cars?”

The answers changed each company’s fortunes.

Ideas are the currency of the future, a currency that pays out the crazy ones.

A great idea reframes, and often surprises with the obvious.

Apple opened retail stores. Blindingly Obvious!!

Toyota Prius gave us a button start ignition.

The key to creative acceleration is freedom within a framework. I’ve got 6,000 people born not to fly in formation. I give them four things:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Learning
  3. Recognition
  4. Joy


Lovemarks have three key ingredients.

  1. Mystery is a sense of intrigue and enigma, the story that creates a dream, a sense of the unknown. It’s the unexpected and enticing.Chanel and Colette created mystery by teaming up for a rock n’ roll pop-up shop in a former garage.Apple shrouds new product launches in mystery by carefully spreading rumours, dropping hints and putting out limited editions. 
  2. Sensuality is Sight, Sound, Scent, Touch and Taste, the enthrallers of emotions.Adidas has launched a touchscreen wall that lets you preview more than 8,000 products in 3D. You can touch and drag to find your perfect sneakers.Repetto, a French ballet shoe agency, has installed an interactive window display that allows passers-by to wave their arms and change the image appearing on the screen. 
  3. Intimacy is the thoughtful touch, the little surprises that connect with a consumer’s heart.Coke is bringing fans up close by inviting them to co-write a song with pop music group Maroon 5 in 24 hours.


In the Now, everything is digital and there is only one world, a Screen Age, not an offline and online world.

Almost every home in Colombia has a TV and you’re the Latin American leader in cable. 81% of Colombian homes have cable. TV is the most emotional powerful medium on the planet and will be the dominant medium of our lifetime – as a device, a format, a host of news/sport/ drama/entertainment, gaming, social media, web, advertising.

YouTube users streamed 8.5 billion videos in January alone. Is this TV? You betcha!

TV is the driving integrating force of a bigger idea called sisomo – sight, sound and motion in the street, on the go, in-store, in the moment. We remember 20% of what we read, 80% of what we see.

TV, mobile, social, internet are becoming one. The victors will be those who outplay others on the field of great content. People are drawn to compelling stories.

If you’ve got a great story to tell in a compelling way, you’ll have an audience – and revenue.

The key is to understand how your audience feels. Let them participate with you and each other on their screens through creativity, emotion and relevance.

The store is an experiential journey, and it works search to shelf. Shoppers will increasingly have their screens on them 24/7. There will be exceptional growth of online streaming and mobile, increasingly a mashing online searching with in-store experience.

Everything is mobilising. YouTube is seeing 200 million mobile playbacks a day. Mobile use is growing faster than all of Google’s internal predictions.

The marketing job is not to satisfy, but to inspire and surprise, to build buying momentum throughout the journey from first impression in the home or on the move to when she buys in the store.

This is less about scale, more about intimacy. Intimacy transforms shoppers into buyers, and it takes supplier-retailer collaboration to deliver that perfect gesture. Work “shelf back” – partner around a BFI to reach back from the First Moment of Truth, and thrill and delight.


In the Age of Now marketers need to move at the speed of light. Live in a state of perpetual motion. Act now and beg for forgiveness later. Make 100 day plans. It’s as far out as you can see. Don’t spend all of your efforts trying to come up with the perfect plan.


The key is not to get things done, it’s to make things happen. You can:

  • Reply to emails or Organize a community
  • Pay the bills or Take a risk
  • Cross off the ‘to dos’ or Set ambitious goals
  • Fulfil your obligation or Give more than you take
  • Repeat what you heard or Change perceptions
  • Go with the flow or Forge a new path
  • Aim for good enough or Demand excellence
  • Anticipate roadblocks or Create possibilities


Here are seven Es to sum up:

  1. Enthusiasm: Be an irresistible force of nature!
  2. Empowerment: Respect and appreciation rule! Always ask, “What do you think?” Then listen! Then let go and liberate! Then celebrate!
  3. Enraged: Determined to challenge and change the status quo! If it ain’t broke, break it!
  4. Empathy: Connect, connect, connect with others’ reality and aspirations! “Walk in the other person’s shoes” – until the soles have holes!
  5. Eureka! Open up to revelation, the magic moment, the epiphany!
  6. Execution: Do it! Now! Get it done! Barriers are baloney! Excuses are for wimps! Accountability is gospel! Adhere to the Bill Parcells doctrine: “Blame no one! Expect nothing! Do something!
  7. Emotion: The essence of marketing. The essence of sales. The essence.

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