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26 Jul

Ep. 51 – Kevin Roberts – Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi & Head of Publicis

Kevin Roberts – Chariman of Saatchi & Saatchi, Head of Publicis; Understanding Millennials & Embracing their Culture; No Labels, Just Creators; Story Sharing.

Segment 1: (Length :04:00) – General Updates; Introduction to Kevin Roberts and his journey as an leader thus far; His background in being one of the world’s leading experts in branding; Getting started; Observations of Millennials

Kevin’s finer points:

“If you’re a youngster out there and you’re striving and you’ve got an idea and you want to get started, it’s daunting. And of course it is. It takes bravery, courage and all of that stuff.”

“The first thing that strikes me is that you’ve got to kick off every morning by reciting your ABC’s. It worked when you were 5 and it works now. Your ABC’s stand for ambition, belief and courage.”

“You’ve got to have that ambition cause in this crazy world it’s an awesome thing because we live in the age of ideas and ideas are completely there for you. If you’ve got an idea, it doesn’t matter where you are, who you are, what your education is, who you know, none of that matters any more in this connected, collaborative and creative world.”

“Start with an ambition. Articulate it. Spell it out. Make it a dream. Have the belief that it’s going to happen and then have the courage every day to face the abominable ‘no man’ and all the people who are trying to kill your idea.”

“Daunting? A little bit, but we were made for moments like this. We were made for moments like this.”

“These Millennials get a bad bad rap. I simply don’t believe that. The average age of people at Saatchi is 27. That’s the average age. We have turnover of 27% per annum so we have this magic 27 number. It’s just filled with vibrant, idealistic, purpose driven, very connected people and it’s never been more exciting than these people.”

“They (Millennials) learn so fast. They learn faster than we’ve ever learned. We believe in giving them four foundations: Responsibility, Learning, Recognition & Joy.”

“And if you give these Millennials these four things,

  • Responsibility before they are ready
  • Lots of learning so they only make the same mistake once
  • Give them recognition in whatever that means to them, which is not a program or employee of the month, but a great environment, then
  • They end up full of joy.

“Millennials just have different work habits. They’re not just going to sit in a stupid desk, stupid office, going to stupid meetings talking about stupid bureaucracies and hierarchy. They don’t do that. These guys work 24 by 7. They’re work and their life is integrated. They never switch off.”

They dress differently, act differently and want different things. They have a different rhythm, but they’re in touch with the market, the street, the consumers. And these guys are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

“When I wrote this book, 64 Shots, it really is sort of designed for these young people who’ve never really been coached in leadership and they’ve been led to believe that you’re either born a leader or not, which is the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever heard.”

Segment 2: (Length :04:00) – Talking with Kevin Roberts; Entrepreneur versus Intrapreneur; Millennials don’t want labels, they want to create;

Kevin’s finer points:

“They’re both just vocabulary labels that don’t help anybody. Intrapreneur, entrepreneur, outrepreneur, uptrepreneur, who cares – I’m interested in people who make things happen. I don’t care if it’s inside or outside. I don’t care about people who get things done. That’s not good enough. Will you make things happen? Will you make them happen with me? You don’t have to make them happen for me anymore.

“I’ll partner or collaborate. I think labels are not what these kids are looking for. They’re looking for opportunity, the experiences, the sense of growth. They want to connect. They want to collaborate. They want to create and they don’t do that vertically or silo’d.”

“If you don’t keep up with them, they’ll just go and find another challenge. They just want to grow.”

“There is still a blind culture and a fear of failure and it starts with our education system and goes right into many of our institutions.”

Segment 3: (Length :04:00) – Interviewing Millennials for Saatchi & Saatchi; Become a Story Sharer; Brands that get it.

Kevin’s finer points:

“We’re looking for people who are competitive, compassionate and restless. We’re looking for people who are true blue. They really believe in making the world a better place. They’re not just going to conferences about global warming, but actually doing something to try and make the world better.”

“We’re looking for people who are driven by ideas and driven by creativity, but who believe in playing with a team; who want to belong to something, whether that’s family, a tribe, a community. We don’t really do interviewing per se. We have a 1 page purpose statement that’s about things we believe in.”

“We believe in the reasonable power of creativity. So we ask the kids to demonstrate that.”

“Building a brand is no longer important. What’s important is to create a movement.”

‘The attraction economy has moved through the information age and moved through the attention economy, and now we’re living in an economy where we’ve got to emotionally engage and attract people, not to our brands, but to the purpose of the brand. We have to attract them to become our advocates.”

“The most powerful medium on Earth now is the consumer. They’re so connected and we’ve got to attract these people. We can’t persuade them, order them, bully them or sell them on price. We’ve got to attract them to participate.”

“Story sharers will be the real leaders in my view. People don’t want to be told a story. We don’t believe them. We don’t trust them . . . Millennials want to share the story. They want to be part of the narrative. They want to have a point of view. They want to be listened to and have influence.”

“I’ve been Apple since the get go. They inspire me. They make me feel involved.”

“To me, one of the greatest disrupts of our time has been Amazon. I don’t remember the last time I went into a store. Why would I bother. This guy’s got a simple strategy. We’re going to offer you the widest possible range at the lowest possible price, today.”

“I think some of the things that Facebook is doing around the whole video thing as well as SnapChat sharing . . . the things that are being done to connect the world and to make connectivity a human right is inspiring to me.”

Segment 4: (Length :03:00) – Hustler Thought of the Day:

“Ideas are the currency of the future”

– Kevin Roberts


Kevin Roberts – Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, Head Coach of Publicis

  • Kevin is the Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s leading creative organizations – and head coach of Publicis Groupe, the Paris-based global communications group active in 108 countries and employing 80,000 professionals.
  • Born and educated in Lancaster in the north of England, Kevin Roberts started his career in the late 1960s with iconic London fashion house Mary Quant.
  • He became a senior marketing executive for Gillette and Procter & Gamble in Europe and the Middle East. At 32, he became CEO of Pepsi-Cola Middle East; and later Pepsi’s CEO in Canada.
  • In 1989, Kevin moved to Auckland, New Zealand, to become Chief Operating Officer with Lion Nathan. From 1997 until 2014 he was CEO Worldwide at Saatchi & Saatchi based in New York.
  • Kevin Roberts advises national organizations and global brands across commerce, media and sport. He has honorary appointments and doctorates at a number of universities.
    • Presently he is Honorary Professor of Innovation and Creativity at the University of Auckland Business School.
    • Honorary Professor of Creative Leadership at Lancaster University.
    • Honorary Professor of Leadership and Innovation at the University of Victoria (B.C.) School of Business.
  • In 2004, he wrote Lovemarks: the Future Beyond Brands, a ground-breaking business book published in 18 languages, showing how emotion can inspire businesses and brands to deliver sustainable value. Lovemarks was named one of the ten Ideas of the Decade by Advertising Age in 2009.
  • Kevin Roberts has an international reputation for an uncompromisingly positive, inspirational leadership style, and an ability to generate ideas and emotional connections that accelerate extraordinary value. He has made presentations to business audiences in 60 countries.
  • Kevin’s new book 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World (June 2016) offers frameworks and solutions for winning in a business world that has become volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous.


Matt Gottesman

Matt Gottesman is a global digital strategist and technology advisor, creator and editor-in-chief of Hustle & Deal Flow™ - an online magazine dedicated to the world's entrepreneurs, creators and makers, a Social Media Influencer and a consultant on New Media and go-to-market strategies for investments in digital marketing, technology, websites, mobile applications, eCommerce, social media and content.

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