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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Realizing the Value of Ideas
Another agency (finally) "gets it."
The Tom Peters website sports a "Cool People" section, wherein Tom and staff interview a pop business-culture celebrity. This time it's Kevin Roberts, author of Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Branding and CEO of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi (now touted as an 'Ideas Company').

Here's an excerpt from near the end of the interview.
Tom Peters: So you're way beyond acting just like an ad agency.

Kevin Roberts: Ahh, there's no future in that. Our dream is to be the hottest idea shop on the planet. I'm more excited about talking to you than I was hosting Squawk Box at CNBC recently. Talking to you guys is more exciting because you're at the ideas edge of the business. It's much more important to me that guys like you are talking about us than Time or the Wall Street Journal or BusinessWeek, and all that rubbish.

TP: How do you energize Saatchi & Saatchi to become the premier idea shop on the planet?

KR: We purchased them six years ago. We started off with a dream, which is to be revered as the hothouse of the world-changing idea. We changed our name from "ad agency" to "ideas company." Our focus is to create and perpetuate lovemarks. Our spirit is, "Nothing is impossible." We hire anthropologists, sociologists, misfits, authors, writers, creative people. And we've changed our compensation structure so we don't get paid fees or commissions; we get paid as a percent of sales. So we go to P&G because we handled $2 billion worth of Proctor business. We changed our whole compensation structure. You're not going to pay
me like an accountant or a lawyer, for time. You're not going to pay me a commission. It's really simple, man: I want a royalty on everything you sell.

TP: So then you see that as basically getting paid for ideas.

KR: Absolutely!

Getting paid for ideas... Wow, what a concept.
Saatchi & Saatchi are on the razor's edge of change -- NOT!

Joey Reiman (author of Thinking For A Living) sold his $100 million ad agency and founded BrightHouse in June 1995 as the world's first "Ideation Corporation."

And let's not forget Doug Hall, my fellow Ohio resident and author of Jumpstart Your Business Brain and Meaningful Marketing. Doug was Procter and Gamble's former Master Marketing Inventor. He left P&G in 1986 to start Richard Saunders International and the Eureka! Team (and later the Eureka! Ranch) a company solely dedicated to consulting and inventing ideas for licensing.

PLUS, all the independent "idea guys and gals" who've made creativity their stock and trade. I've personally been busting ass on this paradigm for over 10 years.

While it's always exciting to welcome a new member to the "getting paid for ideas" club, let's not forget there were others here first. And really, do you want to hire the people who were the first to see the light, or those who've been standing around in the dark all this time?

"He who laughs last -- probably didn't get the joke."


Blogger Sue Braiden; said...

Irony at it's finest. Was having a read through Tom Peter's blog, and who did I see listed in his cool people section? Why, it was my brain buddy Don, which lead me back here to you commenting on Tom. Strangely circular two degrees of separation. Delightful to find you here. Tom was probably the first person I considered a "mentor in absentia" when I first pulled my business britches on about 20 years ago. Glad to see you weighing in on this particular issue, Don. You're are a bonafide pioneer in the area of idea capital, and better qualified to comment on it than anyone I know. Kudos.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Don The Idea Guy; said...

Yeah-right... Look who's talking!
Thanks for noticing the link on Tom's site and dropping by for a visit. Friends are always welcome. :)

10:55 AM  

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