Meet Kevin Roberts | Leaders in Action Society

Meet Kevin Roberts | Leaders in Action Society


Let’s go. You guys ready?
Ok,andiamo.Everything is a brand nowadays, right? Everybody is a brand,
everything’s a brand, Every city is a brand, every country
is a brand. I mean, it’s ridiculous. So what comes beyond brands? Brands are built on respect,
trust, delivery, they do what it says on the can, good value, good quality,
authenticity, heritage… But all successful brands
have that now or they don’t survive. And you know,
in Portugal particularly, if you don’t have
a real compelling proposition brilliantly executed,
there is no wiggle room here. You wither on the vine,
the market is too small to fake it. Right?
So, how do you get above that? Well, you have to had something
to respect and trust. Because you don’t marry someone
that you trust and respect, you marry someone that you trust,
you respect and you love. So brands have got to do that. And we looked
at the emotional side of life and said that the brands
that had created this magic, this sustainable magic,
had three secrets: And that was mystery,
sensuality and intimacy. Brands have got to remember now the stories all important and storytelling is not the key. The key now is story sharing. Just as you’re trying
to do with your conference, I’m sure the speaker all tell stories, but really what’s going on
is the sharing of those stories behind, with the delegates,
with each other, with the people back
at the office when they get home as they tweet at the conference. It’s sharing.
And that’s what mystery is. The more you know about something,
the less interesting it becomes, right? So, you’ve got to…
Brands have got to stop deluging us with information and, instead,
inspire us, involve us. Sensuality… Brands operate only
on one or two senses. But we, as humans, operate in our life
with all five, at the same time. We don’t turn one or two of them off. It’s knowing how consumers feel that represents true intimacy. Brands have to be transparent
and they have to say: “Got that wrong,
really sorry, we fix it.” Apple’s a great example of that,
so are Google. You know, these guys
get everything wrong first time up. They say sorry,
they fix it, you know? Tom Peters talks about it: Fail fast, learn fast, fix fast. And as long as you fix fast
and you’re open, people will go: “Yeah, fair enough.
Ok, I’m back in.” You don’t beg for love, you don’t
demand love, like some politicians do. You have to earn it.
And brands have to earn that love. And it’s a journey, you know,
and it’s constantly changing. You know, you have to be earning
that with consumers every day. You have to become part of their lives. The most important thing
brands have to do now, is to realise that they are no longer
in control of their brand. They have to give up ownership
of that brand to the people. Because the people,
today, have all the power. Great. So the brands that are
in the emotional high ground, that have built loyalty beyond reason, beyond price, beyond value, brands like Singapore Airlines,
brands like Emirates, brands like
Manchester City Football Club. Brands like Apple, for many people. You know, you can buy a Samsung
or you can buy a product from Microsoft, that, functionally,
does everything Apple do. But would you? In 70 odd percent of people go for Apple, not because it’s a better product, but because it’s irresistible.
They love it. It’s a wonderful time to be alive
because the rules are all broken, right? I mean, it’s all like, come on… “I’m ready to play with you,
I’m ready to engage with you, “if you engage with me
and play with me”, right? The people are out there,
we can build intimacy in ways… We don’t need mass media,
we don’t need big mass campaigns, we don’t need big money.
Now all we need is an idea. We live in the age of the idea. Every morning
you should recite your ABCs: Ambition, Belief and Courage.
Ambition, Belief and Courage. And I first learnt that from my England
rugby coach called Brian Ashton. And we use it in business all the time. You’ve got to have great ambition
to succeed and to delight the costumers, you’ve got to have the beliefs
that you can do that and then the courage
to keep the ideas alive because, ideas are the most precious,
vulnerable things, you know. Wherever you work, you will
always meet “the abominable knowman”, and he will try and kill your idea
and strangle it. So you need real courage
to keep the ideas alive. I’ve always played team sports
and I think, from soccer to cricket to rugby, you know,
the game they play in Heaven. And those sports teach you all kinds of connectivity
into personal stuff, but, most of all,
they teach you leadership. That the role of the leader
is simply to create other leaders. That winning isn’t everything. The idea that you’re born leader
is just folly. Of course, a Gandhi is a Gandhi
and a Mandela is a Mandela, but I’m not talking about that level. Leadership is a skill,
it’s a science and an art. And we can learn
to become better leaders, we can learn
from people like Jack Welch. We can learn from those around us,
we can learn… I had a two hour meeting Shimon Peres
talking all about leadership, Colin Powell talks a lot about leadership. Jeff Bezos, like it or love it, Amazon, this guy’s got some
very strong leadership principles that, when you take away
the intensity and the hard work, they’re pretty sound and they work. I think you can encourage leadership,
you can nurture it on a field or in an office
or in an environment. So I think, yes, it can be taught
and it should be taught. Creative leaders, I think,
are people who can create a climate
where there’s lots and lots of ideas. I’m not a big believer
in “the next big idea”. I’m a believer in a culture that generates
lots and lots of small ideas as a way of life. And then,
serendipity or the competition or consumers or something gives
a bit of fuel to one of the ideas. And you see it and you get
involved with it and you engage with it and you… And all of a sudden
you’ve got your big idea right there. Without even knowing,
you know, when you started. One of us is never as good as all of us. Great teams are built on belief and
in confidence in everybody around you. Now, it’s about, “Let’s go
forward with enthusiasm, with optimism, let’s all go forward together,
build off each other.” Don’t get me wrong though,
you still need great players. No matter how many
good players you have, ten of them won’t make up
for one great one. So you need to be looking
for greatness in these guys. But greatness can come
from the collective. They all… If the leader can inspire everyone
to be the best they can be, that team dynamic will then add
20 percent as well. In my experience. Knowledge, skills and attitude. You gotta have people
with a lot of knowledge, with great skills but you’ve gotta have positive,
go forward, brave attitude. I’ve only ever written
one equation in my life. One. And this equation is what I think drives
a successful company. IQ + EQ + TQ + BQ IQ, Intelligence Quotient:
knowledge you cannot hire muppets. It’s too competitive, people are
well educated now, wherever they live, either university
or in the university of life. But you’ve got to get smart people,
and by that I mean, people who can learn real fast, who can absorb real fast,
hungry for knowledge. So you’ve got to have high IQ. You cannot maintain average players,
good players… You won’t win like that. You’ve gotta
have very, very bright sharp players. EQ, you have to have a diverse team that feels empathy
for the rhythm, the flow of the market,
the country and the people. So you need black, white,
brown, pink, male, female, transsexual, gay, straight, I don’t… … short, small, young, old… You’ve gotta have diversity because that’s gonna give you
more empathy with the world. So, high EQ. TQ, obviously,
Technology Quotient, you cannot fake it. Most companies are faking it. They’re very slow,
stuff doesn’t work, it’s not… It’s maybe collecting data,
but they’re not really interpreting data. So you’ve gotta have
IQ, EQ, TQ and BQ: Bloody Quick. So you’ve gotta be prepared,
you’ve gotta put the hard yards in, you’ve gotta do the training,
you’ve gotta do the studying… You’ve gotta build the IQ, you’ve gotta
have your IQ muscle on the go. Then you’ve gotta put yourselves
in situations where EQ and the BQ will help. And, as long as you keep going,
given that I’m a radical optimist, something’s gonna
break for you, you know? But you gotta put… You gotta do how the
old blokes say which is: go for the gap. Don’t go for the man, don’t play the man,
don’t go straight in to the norm, don’t go straight in to what’s being done
and try and make it better. If you’re gonna do a start-up,
just don’t make a better product, make a completely different product.
You’ve gotta disrupt, disrupt, disrupt. “What keeps you awake at night?” – Have you ever asked that question?
– Yeah. Yeah…
Well, nothing keeps awake. I go to sleep.
I’m tired, I go to sleep, I wake up
the next morning and I get to work. So nothing keeps me
awake at night, right? The other thing is:
“It must be tough at the top.” And I’m going:
“Well, you must be crazy.” It’s very tough at the bottom,
almost impossible in the middle. The top’s the easiest thing in the world. Cause you’re surrounding
yourself with fantastic people, you’re in, presumably, a business
that you love and that you understand inherently, right? And it’s just a joy. I started life very poor, you know,
like many people in working class. And I got kicked out of school
when I was less than 17, so it was kind of shocking
and I had to get four jobs simultaneously. One of the reasons why I own a pub
now, is one of my jobs
was working in a bar, the Lancastrian pub, at night.
And I thought: “Wow, this is pretty good, “but I’m not making all the money
I should be making out here.” Anyway… And I’ve been poor.
And now I’m rich. Being rich is just so much better. It’s just better. You know, and then, you can help
people, and then you can do something, and you have resources
and you have connections. And you can try
and make the world a better place. These kids age of 17 to 20, you
know what, they need life experience, they need to get away from home. So, yes, they need to learn whatever
it is that they’re thinking about studying, but, most importantly,
they need to learn to live, to survive, to make friends, to make choices, to make a budget,
to make ends meet. And, at 17 to 20, they’re not really
that employable, are they? Because they don’t have
scar tissue yet, they haven’t travelled… I think the ideal world
is get yourself in to university that’s a long way from home,
probably has a really good social life, has a broad view of arts and sciences, let’s you do a lot of
other subjects besides just your major, so you get broader.
Probably has a year involved in some travel some place,
so you can get… And I don’t mean just to Paris or Milan,
I mean go to Kenya or go in to deep Thailand,
or something. And it has that whole thing set up. Place where you get exposed
during that study to some outside sports teams,
companies or whatever. Come back out of there 22, 23… And do seven different
things before you’re 30. Don’t stay anywhere for longer than 9
months. Man, move. Get out and keep growing,
keep growing. Keep going. Get new experiences, new experiences. Then, at the age of 29 or 30, figure out what it is that’s turning you on,
figure out what’s making you happy. Make happy choices
and know what you’re really good at. One of the kids at Cambridge,
last week, he said: “I want to go travel for a year,
what do you think I should do “before I go?” And I said:
“Go on a bartending course “because wherever you go in the world, “you don’t need a work permit,
you don’t need to fill any papers in, “and everybody needs
a proficient bartender. “Just learn six cocktails
and how to pull a perfect beer.” Great. Yeah, that was called a burning platform.
I had a baby and no money and no prospects so, you know, you sort of had
to go to work to pay the rent. Yeah, so…
It’s not a route that I would recommend. I’ve got a great daughter. This was the 60s, you know, it was
boom time and there was growth
and it was creative. And I was from
the Northwest of England, which at that time
was the home of sport, the home of music,
The Beatles and so on, the home of art, you know,
David Hockney and all this kind of stuff. And I was lucky enough
to walk in to Mary Quant in a fashion business in London, that was booming. And then was lucky enough to catch
the eye of Gillette, the big corporation. Persuaded Procter & Gamble
that they should hire me. Which was like my university education.
Working for Procter & Gamble. But that’s a road less travelled
and I think… You know,
when you’re desperate you have no… I mean, was driven to succeed and I was driven to be
the best I could be and I was driven like that
from when I was three. I loved leading teams and captaining
teams and all that kind of stuff. But… You know,
those times are different now. I work at Magdalene College
in Cambridge, and the master is Rowan Williams,
who was a archbishop of Canterbury and I had a private dinner
with him about a year or so ago and we were talking about leadership
and philosophical… He’s a grammar school boy
from Swansea, likes a glass of red wine,
plays rugby. And, was also pretty
close to the big boss, God, as the archbishop of Canterbury. There wasn’t a lot of hierarchy
between him and Him, I don’t think. And then I say to him: “Man, how can
you… When you look around the world “and you see the bad things people
are doing and the things they say”… And… “And you have to deal with it all,
and the media and all. “How do you stay so…
Such a beautiful person?” Cause he’s a beautiful man. And he says: “well,
every time, every morning I wake up”, he doesn’t shave,
he’s got this big beard, “I wake up and I look at the mirror “and I just think… “… What would God think?” And that’s what he thinks. And that’s not like,
fundamentalist or extreme, It’s just a reminding question. “What would God think
and what would He try and do about this “to make things better?” And, I think,
if you have a philosophy, whichever religion you are,
because, as Anglicans we’re very… … tolerant.
You just say you’re sorry and you do better
and you’re good to go. It’s terrific. And so, I’ve studied
Buddhism and Islam and Hinduism and, obviously, Catholicism,
so on and so forth. And I think they are much closer
than they are distant and separate, so, I’m not radical
or fundamental, at all, I’m so middle of the road. I just think, whoever you are,
if you have a spiritual set of values… Might make you happier, if you have that framework to think about
the way Rowan does. My sister left England
on this assisted passage where if, at ten pounds you could sail
to New Zealand and live there. She was only 16 and she did that. And she went there and she said:
“This is great, you’ve gotta come here. It’s like, egalitarian…” There’s a difference between
egalitarian and socialist, ok? So it’s egalitarian,
people don’t care where you came from, where you went to school, nothing. Just they care about who you are
and what you’re doing. That’s all they care about. I love everything about the size,
it’s only 4 million people. We know everybody. The standards, because we want
to be the best at everything, even though we’re small. Team New Zealand
in the America’s Cup, the all blacks’ Peter Jackson,
“O Senhor dos Anéis”… We’re not constrained by fear or by comfort. We live on the edge of the world. The dream that
we have for New Zealand is to win the world
from the edge. My dream’s to make the world
a better place through business cause I understand business.
And what I mean by “business” is not fancy financial manipulations
and hedge funds. I don’t mean making money, ok? I really think it’s about creating jobs. We, the capitalists, have to stimulate growth
and to create jobs. To get the global economy working, yes, but to get the global
social situation working. You have one life, right,
it’s not a dress rehearsal, here we are.
So are you gonna be happy? Are you gonna love doing those things?
Are you gonna have… Be full of “joie de vivre”? Full of enthusiasm? Or are you gonna be oppressed
and negative and cynical and contrarian? So, I’m on the…
A radical optimist. First, make happy choices, right? And these millennials
are really doing that, I think, because they’re very connected, they’re very creative,
they’re very collaborative, they are in a really great space, I think. And I think they’re doing
a wonderful job with what they’ve got. And they are making happy choices,
I think that’s really good. I think, another thing that
they should think about is start with the answer and work back. So get yourself a personal purpose, figure out what you’re five
year, ten year dream looks like and write it down. Figure out when you’re at your best and put yourself in to positions
where you’ll always be at that. And figure out what you’re
never gonna do. What you will never do. Figure those three things out,
have a personal purpose. Then the final thing I would suggest
them is they have to learn to live life slow. And that does not mean to say
no energy, do fewer things, it means don’t bother about worry, guilt, regret… These things, discard them. Don’t worry about the future,
live life slow. Live life in the moment,
make every experience today the best it can be. So, don’t look for balance. Avoid moderation, right?
Nothing succeeds like excess. And, again,
I think these millennials are really… they’re struggling with that, because
they think multitasking is the way of life and it’s a huge mistake, because
they’re doing everything averagely. So, whilst I think they’re doing a
wonderful job at making happy choices, I think my advice would be, try
to live life slow, be more in the moment. Live that moment with full focus, rather than distractions. Critical thing to me,
is to make happy choices I only wanna do stuff that
I can really make a difference in, really have an impact in,
and that really makes me happy. Bu I won’t do a single thing, now, that doesn’t bring happiness. Thank you very much. Translation and Subtitling
Ana Luísa Aguiar / PSB Studios

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