As worldwide CEO of agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts should know a thing or two about brands. But what’s his take on music? He took to the Midem stage today for a keynote speech, giving his views on how marketers can make more creative and innovative use of music.
“I’m here because to me, music matters,” he said. “Music is becoming inceasingly important. I haven’t got a clue as to what business model is going to work though… We live in a ‘VUCA’ world – a world that is volatile, a world that is uncertain, a world that is complex and a world that is ambiguous.”
It’s fair to say Roberts is quite a character.
“I am seriously fucking crazy. I run the biggest advertising agency in the world, and I don’t give a shit,” he said, before suggesting the music industry should stop feeling down about the challenges facing it right now.
“We can whinge about the business model and wah wah wah… but music is more important than ever. We’re not dying dying, we’re going to be reborn,” he said.
And more. “New is dead. Nothing is new man, nothing is new any more. By the time we think it’s new, consumers have been doing it for ages. We live not in an age where new counts or innovation counts. We live in the age of now. We’ve gotta have it all now, and we want it fast… And we’ve gotta win.”
Is everyone in the advertising industry like this?
“Business is a blood sport. You’ve gotta be able to win. And the reason I’m excited about music is music helps me win. Music is the fastest shortcut to the heart. Nothing builds emotion like music.”
And Roberts talked about the need for “emotional thinking” rather than rational thinking, because “emotional thinking leads to action. And we are all in the action business, in one way or another”.
So how is Saatchi using music? It’s working with bands and songwriters as well as startups, using music in every aspect of its business. “It used to be that companies cared about shareholder returns and shareholder value. That is so 1990 it’s not funny. Now… any company has to be driven by a dream, not by shareholder value.”
And more. “We’ve moved from information to inspiration. We’re drowning in information, and it doesn’t matter… Your role is not to market stuff to people, but to create a movement.. and inspire people to join your movement, whether that’s an artist or a venue. We’ve moved from interruption to interaction.”
Roberts isn’t a fan of the term Return On Investment, preferring “return on involvement – how involved is my consumer with my music?”
He also slated research – “When you ask people something, they bullshit… and they never know what they want anyway… You only have to ask three things. First: do they wanna experience again?… Second, do they wanna improve it… and third, do they wanna improve it?”
Roberts talked about Saatchi’s work with T-Mobile in the UK, a brand campaign that involved lots of music, and saw T-Mobile’s sales increase by 52% in a year. “Just as marketing is dead, brands are dead. Brands have become commodities. Everything’s a brand and nothing’s a brand. We’ve created a new thought, you’ve got to make your brand much bigger: it’s got to become a lovemark.”
A lovemark? That’s a brand, but owned by the people who love it, not the company that owns it. “Lovemarks are built on respect and love… Brands build loyalty for a reason… lovemarks create loyalty beyond reason. So we’ve got to create loyalty beyond reason.”
And the three secrets of turning a brand into a lovemark, according to Roberts. First: add mystery. “The more we know about something, the less interesting it is”. Second: add sensuality. “We feel the world through our five senses. Most brands and businesses operate on one or two… Adding sensuality enables you to reframe things. Lady Gaga reframed weird into wonderful. Steve Job reframed presence into absence.”
And third: add intimacy. “Really knowing not what your audience or customers say or do, but knowing how they feel.”
And one more to finish. “I cannot stand smart-arse cynical people, and the music industry is full of them… Be a force of nature… Be enthusiastic!”