My guest today is the President of Pepsi Global Foods, Simon Lowden. Simon has been the driving force over the last 10 years at turning Pepsi into a forward-thinking and self-iterating company. He is incredibly thoughtful when it comes to marketing and Responsive organizations, and in today’s conversation, we dive deep into some of the philosophies that he has implemented over the span of his career. He offers tactical advice on how to work well with teams and build a future focused organization. I hope you enjoy!
Podcast Notes: 3:00 How Simon found Responsive 5:00 Building a team 7:45 Why Pepsico brought Simon on 10:45 How Simon stays current in marketing 12:45 Balancing the internal politics of the organization with staying fresh with consumer attention 15:45 Marketing platforms on the rise 18:15 Plastics Project 21:15 Three local rules of the Plastics Project 25:30 Simon mentions: If by Rudyard Kipling 26:00 Simon’s thoughts to the Responsive community 28:00 Steps towards being plastic-free 31:30 Begin with trust
Mike Arauz (@mikearauz) is a founding member and acting president of August, a New York-based consulting firm which helps organizations keep up in an increasing fast-paced world. Mike is also co-author of Responsive.org, a community leading the self-organization movement.
Mike is passionate about helping companies to innovate quickly, to make their dent in the universe. In our interview today, Mike discusses what lead him into consulting in digital technology from his beginnings in the arts in New York City.
In the last 5 days more than 5 million people have viewed this video of American Ballet Theater controversial soloist Misty Copeland perform in an advertisement for Under Armour.
Her performance and sheer physicality are stunning. But there is more to this exceptional piece of viral advertising than just good dancing.
In stark contrast, my friend and teacher Robert Dekkers’ company Post:Ballet performed a several exception pieces of contemporary ballet, including a World Premier, all at a full but not sold out Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
I’m excited that Misty has gained even more notoriety. If the best in the world in an industry aren’t noticed, those below them certainly aren’t going to be! I’m also not disappointed that Robert’s company wasn’t more well received – from their intended audience Post:Ballet received rave reviews.
But there is something more going on here.
Who is the intended audience?
First of all, who is the intended audience? Misty’s Under Armour ad is targeted at populations who can relate to her: anyone who wants more from their bodies, who has been told no, has overcome an obstacle of any kind. The message is designed to be internalized by a wide audience. Under Armour just comes across as the backer – an organization the audience can trust to back their winning underdog.
Post:Ballet addresses contemporary issues, but does so artistically. The narrative of the final piece in this season’s show “ourevolution” shows a progress that can be equated to human evolution, and leaves me personally feeling inspired while considering our species future. I’d call that a successful performance! And yet, even I am more likely casual recommend Misty’s performance.
Misty’s performance is the ideal length for spreading: short. But when intermission came at the Post:Ballet performance I had a moment of feeling cheated, thinking that the show was only a “paltry” 50 minutes. Misty’s performance is also free, whereas I paid $25 for an evening of Post:Ballet.
It is easy to see why Misty’s performance has been viewed (and largely admired) by 5 million, whereas Post: Ballet has not gained thousands of new adopters. It is easy to tell the story of Under Armour’s success and Post:Ballet’s predictable audience. But what about the reverse? What about the controversy around Misty and reasons why Post:Ballet isn’t gaining audiences like Beonce (who was also performing in San Francisco the same week).
Misty is a controversial figure in and out of ballet. Even within this specific performance I can see some reasons for concerns. Either she is a genetic abnormality (arguably the case for any dancer at the highest level) or she is unhealthily low on body fat. I have hear a lot of comments about her “beautiful physique” but simultaneously her calves are bulging with muscles to a degree I have only ever seen on collapsed Olympic sprinters. What kind of message does those calves send to already physically insecure viewers?
In contrast, Post:Ballet’s piece “ourevolution” could well become a draw for a younger audience looking to express themselves. While the dancers are extremely talented and experienced professionals, they are relatable and led by a young Artistic Director. For a young, affluent San Francisco audience looking for expressive outlets, it is conceivable that they could find such in a company that promotes itself as being what comes after ballet.
As a dancer and advocate of many of the benefits that dance can bring I’m left with more questions than answers. (To anyone who knows me and my love of questions, this will come as no surprise.) But I see a dilemma if we want there to be more local high quality performances and performing artists.
From these two performances it is clear that physical prowess speaks to us all. And there are some smaller stories about viral growth that are further reinforced: small spans of attention are easier to engage than large, the experience of awe is one that spreads. I’m glad that Under Armour and Misty are promoting dance, and that Post:Ballet puts on live performances for me to see. Beyond these facts, I’m curious what the future of dance will hold.
When you think of sales what comes to mind? For me it is the combination. My grandfather going door-to-door selling vacuums in California’s Central Valley in the mid-1950s. I think very highly of my grandfather and he did well by his family. But I don’t think of knocking on doors in the 100 degree Summer Fresno heat as my ideal way to earn a living.
The second image that comes to mind when I hear the word “sales” is a guy in a shiny but none-too-high-quality suit selling sheet metal roofing. Why sheet metal roofing – no idea. But in my mind this salesman is extremely pushy, aggressive and doesn’t give a damn if I even have a house that needs a roof. He is going to persuade me to get his roofing, no matter what.
The final image that comes to mind when I think of sales is this video clip. I am among the most persistent people I have met, in my learning projects, in relationship, or with myself. But I don’t ever treat others or want to be treated like this. I view this hard-nosed desperate selling as pitiable.
And guess what? I am learning sales. If you know me at all you probably know that I love learning – be that gymnastics, dance, handstands, Spanish, questioning or autism. Right now I’m learning sales because being comfortable asking for a sale is going to be a part of the contributing factor to the success of my current big project.
Me being me, I am not going to do sales like any of the images that come to mind when I think of selling. I am learning to sell very differently.
This post is about using a growth hacker’s creative and analytical mindset to radically change the launch and long-term success of the book Autism Breakthrough by my friend Raun Kaufman.
For background: Raun Kaufman is the son around whom the Son-Rise Program was created. The Son-Rise Program has since been run by thousands of families with children with autism around the world and helped kids recover from autism. Raun is the Director of Global Education at the Autism Treatment Center of America. For more information this fascinating study examines the efficacy of applying the Son-Rise Program with special needs children.
Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph.
I was immediately struck by the similarities to what I have always done. Maybe its just that I’ve never had a big budget or that I was taught young not to spend money if I wasn’t sure of a return. Regardless, analytics and creative problem-solving have always been part of my work, whether for Move Autism or in any of my previous positions. I’ve always asked about processes with an eye to improving them.
I have been interested in Kickstarter for more than year and have actively been building my own campaign over the last few months. I have been at times overwhelmed, determined and delighted. Studying with Clay at CreativeLIVE put everything I’ve done into perspective and showed me that building, managing and successfully running a Kickstarter campaign is manageable and something that anyone can do.
He did this by breaking down every step of running a campaign into it’s component parts. By only trying to accomplish one small step at a time, I realized I was better able to focus on keeping one foot in front of the other and not stumbling along the way.
In what follows I will share some of my take-aways from Clay’s workshop. At least as interesting to me, though, is how these same holdups and breakthroughs transfer into a larger learning process. Increasingly, I recognize patterns in my own learning. As I discussed in my study of the Gymnastics Giant there are predictable periods in any learning process of inactivity or overwhelm. As I’ve encountered these periods in building my own Kickstarter, I have been learning to plan for them and make progress when I am at my most energetic.
This resource is something I’ve wanted to share for a quite a while. I’ve described this man and his resources to individuals and groups dozens of times in the last year. Whether you are in business, work for someone else, or think marketing and sales are evil words there is useful information in Jay’s ideas and give-aways. Take a look!
I’ve never met Jay, though I intend to. I haven’t even read all of his books or used all of his products. I’ve also never paid him and he currently offers very little that I even could spend money on! He works almost exclusively with seriously large (multi-billion dollar) corporations.
That said, there is one audio recording in particular – of Jay Abraham interviewed by Tony Robbins – which is worth more than… most anything. I’ve certainly received more value than I paid for it – because is free! One of the many aspects Jay talks through in this particular interview is the usefulness in business of contributing far more in value than is expected or than we take in payment. I currently employ this in my private practice by charge of consulting two weeks after working with clients – and not at all if effects of my work have not been observed! I have found that this policy is a very useful incentive for new clients. There are hundreds of similarly useful lessons for business and for life in just this two hour audio interview.
I received an email tonight from Jay that explained that I will be receiving 9 emails from him in the next nine days. In the year that I’ve been on his email list I’ve received less than one email a month. My enthusiasm for this man is such that – even though he specifies that he will, for a change, be marketing a product – I can’t wait. I am excited to hear what’s next and what this brilliant man has in mind. I should reiterate that I’ve never spent money on any of his products or services. I may never. The thing that Jay does brilliantly, and the reason I’m excited to hear from him again soon, is deliver enormous value ever step of the way. Jay detailed that in addition to the nine emails I’ll be receiving a report which breaks down of his career in marketing with specific tools he learned at each step in his career (from selling dust carpets to advising Fortune 500s), as well as 4 hours of fresh footage of him reviewing and deconstructing other businesses. Throughout this endeavors Jay builds in value.
Update: Even as I’ve begun to receive the series of emails Jay breaks down how and why he’s organizing the emails for optimal persuasion. Also, though I know that I can always unsubscribe, he explicitly details the number of ways I don’t have to participate or continue receiving his emails if I so choose. Even Jay’s selling techniques provide useful tips!
Here’s an example of the enormous value he brings to the table: This link is to a page which depicts an overwhelmingly large number of products that he has created over the last couple of decades. Enter your email (it can even be a throw-away account) and get access to the identical page except that each product description links to the actually product. My favorite by far is Tony Robbins interviewing Jay Abraham but published books, CD and DVD training programs, and reconstruct-a-business videos are just a few of the products available.
Another note: Try out the audio, even if you’re turned off by Jay’s land page. The products he gives away are invaluable!
I really want you to listen to Jay’s interview by Tony Robbins because it has been completely transformational in my own business. I make a percentage of my monthly income as residual from work that I’ve done for other companies in the past year. I have contributed marketing or sales strategy to these companies and helped them improve their business for a percentage of the profits I generated. In other words, I’ve used one of the models that Jay describes to supplement my income. It was easy and fun work and you can do it too!
Visit http://abraham.com/gifts/ and give this audio a try. This is the most useful marketing tool I’ve discovered in years of learning about marketing and sales. I frequently describe to nearly everyone I meet and I think it can be useful for you, too.
Just as an aside: though I have no financial investment in anything here my reasons for sharing are entirely self-serving. Next time I go to describe this resource to anyone I can just tell them to check my blog! And I’m always interested in sharing business ideas and discussing effective marketing strategy. My hope is that sharing these resources will fuel the discussion!