The Future Beyond Brands, Cincinnati

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 - Cincinnati, USA

Cincinnati Kevin Roberts

Presentation Summary

An address to the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce: Cincinnati business leaders explore the region through the Love/Respect axis. A backgrounder on the Lovemarks story, and a six-course menu of ideas. Key ingredients include Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy, Loyalty Beyond Reason, Inspirational Consumers, Sight, Sound and Motion.

Lovemarks have taken me to Beijing and Paris, London and Sydney, and many places in-between. It’s fantastic that they have brought me back to Cincinnati, a city I know well through P&G.

I’m honored to have been asked to speak in your World Class Authors Series.

At Saatchi & Saatchi, Ideas are our inspiration.

Our challenge is: “To be revered as the hothouse of world-changing creative ideas that transform our clients’ businesses, brands and reputations.”

One of our most transforming ideas has been Lovemarks.

Our question was simple: people live in a world where the snacks are crisp, cars start first time and all beer tastes good.

How do we attract their attention and draw them close? What comes after brands?

The answer is Lovemarks.

From Products to Trademarks. From Trademarks to Brands. From Brands to Lovemarks.

  • Lovemarks inspire Loyalty beyond Reason.
  • Lovemarks are built on Love and Respect.
  • Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them and use them. Not by companies.
  • Lovemarks can be everything that people care deeply about. And it’s amazing what they do care about! The website has received almost Inspirational Consumer stories from around the world. Computers, coffee, stores, shoes, cities and automobiles, rock banks and TV programs, perfumes, pearls, and of course cars.

Lovemarks are the charismatic brands that people get emotional about. You know them instantly.

  • Harley Davidson, definitely. Suzuki? I don’t think so.
  • Apple’s iPod is a Lovemark. Every other music player is struggling to catch up.
  • Entrepreneur, innovator and adventurer Richard Branson is a Lovemark. Donald Trump is not.

Brands have been led by Respect for decades. Quality, efficiency, speed, effectiveness, performance.

The brand management system invented and so brilliantly actualized by P&G has fuelled marketing and whole economies for decades.

But we know that today, Respect is no longer enough.

Respect can make you Irreplaceable. Only Love can make you Irresistible.

Irreplaceable and irresistible.

  • McDonalds is Irreplaceable. Skyline Chili is Irresistible.
  • The Cincinnati History Museum is Irreplaceable. The Underground Railroad Freedom Center is Irresistible.
  • Sam Adams brewed in Cincinnati is Irreplaceable. But in Brazil, Brahma’s turtle is irresistible.

The Evolution of Lovemarks

Lovemarks have been out in the world for five years now, the book for 12 months. 14 languages. 35 countries. And Lovemarks keeps totally surprising us.

  • Our work with clients like P&G and Toyota, General Mills and Visa has given new creative energy and insight and new ideas. If your remit is to emotionalize the advertising work of your clients, then Lovemarks is the only place to go.
  • With QiQ International we’ve created a unique research methodology to measure Lovemarks and emotion. We have evidence of the very strong commercial advantages of Lovemarks. The New Yorker magazine was the first client for the research, and we have projects forging ahead with several clients in several countries.
  • With Lovemarks, P&G’s First Moment of Truth – when she chooses – has come into focus. I’ve just written a new chapter on the world of shopping and shoppers for the expanded edition of the book.
  • We’ve created Saatchi & Saatchi X to take Lovemarks in store with fantastic results.
  • And our agencies from New York to Geneva to Sydney and Shanghai to Ankara and Athens have dived into Lovemarks to produce deeper emotionally-connective work, often in quite local ways. Our China agency is working with I-Cable Satellite Television to produce a 10-part TV series on Lovemarks.

As I’ve talked to people about Lovemarks, the big question is always the same.

How do we put Lovemarks in action?

Six ideas to get you started:

1: Tap into the Power of Emotion

Humans are powered by emotion, not by reason. Emotion is how we make decisions. Reason leads to conclusions. Emotion leads to action.

Emotion, intuition, long-term memories and unconscious motivations make up as much as 85% of our decision-making.

Our knowledge of that 85% is picking up. Economists armed with MRI scans are finding out why having more doesn’t always make you happy. I’m sure your grandmother could have told them without the MRI!

Economist Colin Camerer from CalTech whacks rational decision-making on the chin. “In some ways, modern economic life for humans is like a monkey driving a car.”

As the frontiers of science expand, Lovemarks keeps it simple.

Trust in your Is and your Es.

  • “I” for Ideas, Imagination, Intuition, Insight and Inspiration.
  • “E” for Emotion, Empathy, Energy, Exploration, Exhilaration.

2: Love Love

Consumers love love. They have no fear or embarrassment telling stories about the products and services and experiences they love. has had 8.5 million pageviews since launch in late 2003. And 6000 stories!

We didn’t look to the critics or analysts for validating the idea, we went straight to consumers. They talk the language of love immediately, pro-actively.

For companies, it’s a tough step. Why? Because business has played safe with metrics and specialist jargon, graphs and tables. But these are no longer enough.

The traditional tools keep business in balance and check. Necessary but not enough.

P&G have found a new mix. A global powerhouse with sales of more than $14 billion in the last quarter and growth of 9.7%. Tough, competitive, winners.

And yet their Inspirational Dream is simple and emotional: “To make every day a little bit better by creating and building brands that people love.”

3: Use the Secrets of the Love / Respect Axis

The Love/Respect Axis is where Lovemarks get competitive. No place to hide. Consumers are ruthless when faced with this tool.


Low Respect, Low Love – classic commodities. No names with no claims. The world of discounts, price wars, crushing competition. This is where U.S. airlines crash-landed.

Low Respect, High Love – Fads and infatuations. Last month’s gotta-haves. Next month’s has-beens. David Beckham and Paris Hilton.

High Respect, Low Love – Most successful brands and businesses belong here. Solid products and sales but a constant struggle to differentiate. Obsessed by the same “e-r” words. Brighter, stronger, faster . cheaper.

High Respect and High Love – Lovemarks. Everyone wants to be here. Massive quality, memorable attitude, lasting value, irresistible appeal. Enduring differentiation. Loyalty Beyond Reason.

4: Touch Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy

These are the three elements of a Lovemark.

Mystery. Stories, myths and icons. People love the spark of curiosity, the thrill of the unknown. If we know everything there is nothing to surprise and delight us.

Who goes to a movie knowing the ending?

Why else would the gift wrap industry generate more than $5 billion a year?

Sensuality. The five senses. Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. This is how to touch the emotions.

Food is a fast track to the emotions. Take comfort food. For men it’s what their mothers cooked. Roast chicken and meat loaf. Women take the no-fuss option. Chocolate, candy, ice-cream straight from the pack.

In Cincinnati that ice-cream will be Graeters. “The most delicious ice-cream on the planet!” It stars on

Intimacy. Knowing the consumer better than she knows herself. Empathy, commitment and passion. The small touch, the perfect gesture.

5: Embrace Your Inspirational Consumers

Your most loyal, loving consumers want to help you make and market amazing experiences.

They are your fans, activists, enthusiasts. The people who love to spread the news – and are getting new ways to do it.

By the end of 2005 two billion mobile phones will spread the news globally.

Are you ready for it?

The Inspirational Consumer is the heart of Loyalty beyond Reason.

We have a pilot project with Vogue to identify and measure the value of Inspirational Consumer behaviour and influence.

Inspirational consumers will design the future and the smartest businesses are inviting them inside.

Staples held a competition for customers to come up with new product ideas. They got 8,300 submissions and launched “wordlock”, a padlock that uses words instead of numbers.

3M found that product ideas from Inspirational consumers generated eight times the sales of ideas generated internally – $146 million versus $18 million a year.

When consumers talk, listen.

6: Aspire to Peak Performance

Lovemarks is the destination great brands aspire to. Peak Performance is the way to get there.

Peak Performance is a big transformative idea that has been at the heart of Saatchi & Saatchi’s advances over the past eight years. This is an idea beyond advertising and we’ve worked with Peak Performance to intensify our strategic contribution to the success of several clients.

Peak Performance is about attaining and sustaining the highest levels of performance imaginable.

It’s not just about management, doing things right. And it’s not just about leadership, and doing the right things. It’s about Inspiration.

  • Inspiration unleashes potential
  • Inspiration is contagious.
  • Inspiration is about action. It delivers real results.

At the heart of the PPO model is the Inspirational Player.

Inspirational Players galvanize commitment across the organization, and with other organizations. They are the go-to people. They pick up on ideas fast and push them hard.

An Inspirational Dream drives all great endeavors.

Martin Luther King didn’t say “I have a mission statement”.


I’ve been making the journey to Cincinnati for many years, so how does it feel from a Lovemarks perspective? I feel a real shift. A new assurance and sophistication. And a new determination to maintain and grow your position as:

  • an irreplaceable national and worldwide business center
  • a vibrant focus on design, arts and culture, sports and recreation
  • a deeply satisfying place to live and work.

Rational benefits however are not enough to persuade people to live here, stay, visit, work, learn and trade here.

High Respect Low Love is where many cities belong. Useful location, decent facilities, a robust infrastructure, effective management, but lacking that magic that makes it not just Irreplaceable, but Irresistible.

For many decades I’m sure Cincinnatians were happy to live in this quadrant. Most successful brands certainly were.

But the world has changed. Competition is more far-reaching and determined. Cities and regions everywhere are in competition for businesses, residents, visitors. It can come from Arizona for residents, South Carolina for visitors and China for jobs.

Cincinnati needs to reach into its emotional center. Cincinnati first needs to be loved by the people who live here. Cincinnatians need to fall in love with the region again. A peck on the cheek won’t do.

Moving away from Greater Cincinnati Region to Cincinnati USA is smart. Proud to be American, proud to be global.

I think your new unifying idea is fantastic. “All Together Surprising”. Aspirational, committed, and with a twist. An idea with pulling power and emotional potential. An idea to leave other cities behind.

To finish – here is a big thing to start doing tomorrow.

That is, to give Cincinnati the Lovemarks treatment. It might take less than an hour to come up with 10 ideas – each! There is a method, a process and an outcome, which will make you all feel comfortable. You’ll have hundreds of ideas but here are two Lovemark-inspired ones.

The first comes from the countless hours I have spent at the Westin. Looking at Fountain Square. The heart of Cincinnati. Whether you move the fountain or you don’t, the inspiration for the redevelopment should be Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy. Look at Chicago ‘s Millennium Park for doing it all together.

And the second idea is from the “if you don’t ask you don’t get” camp, convince Stephen Spielberg to bring his heart back home. Ask him to do your ads. The man is an emotional magician. You have a fantastic identity in CincinnatiUSA. Inspire him to create A great story of progress.

People want to be part of something bigger than themselves, and CincinnatiUSA certainly sets the stage. .

You are Inspirational Players. Your challenge is to make your world in CincinnatiUSA, and the world beyond these borders, a better place.

To work together with energy. To come up with fantastic ideas. To respect, love and inspire each other.

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