Helping brands fail

Our new 2020 mission statement? Quite possibly!  And no, it’s not just click bait. We genuinely see and believe that brands and businesses that root permission-to-fail into their culture are the ones that will grow quickly and sustainably. That is because a culture of supportive risk-taking generates a fertile feeding ground for innovation and creativity.  We not only love working with marketing leaders and brands that believe and trust in the power of failure (or want to) but find the results are more effective, the culture is more connected and the people more motivated. 

Working at Inbev in the early noughties, the Stella Artois team had a “wall of shame”.  This was not in fact about shame at all but more about proudly sharing our failures – parading them in front of others to display that we tried something bold and we’re proud of that despite the result.  The team knew that with a one In ten chance of bringing that one incredible something incredible to market, you have to have nine failures, so we celebrated these failures and the leadership team encouraged us to do so as we knew they were taking us one step closer to success.

Celebrating failure is not the only behaviour we encourage for marketing leaders wanting to drive innovation and creativity for their brands.  But it’s incredibly high on our list. 

Here are our top 6:

  1. Bake in failure 
    Talk about failure.  Celebrate it. Encourage it. See above.

  2. Be quick. Be agile.
    Innovative brand leaders gravitate towards speed.  They believe things can be accomplished sooner, not later.  They believe that getting stuff done is better than perfect.  They believe being out there and then testing and learning is better than losing the head start on the insight that inspired the innovation.

  3. Build trust 
    One quality we always observe in innovative and creative C-suite leaders time and time again is that they trust their team.  And their team trusts them.  They excel at teamwork.  They embrace the diversity of their team and squeeze out the collective talent.

  4. Be collaborative 
    Creating a joint vision with your team, rather than directing from on high, drives more innovative behaviours and outcomes.

  5. Be brave 
    Have courage.  Challenge the status quo.  Innovative leaders and highly effective brand teams are fearless in doing what’s right vs what’s politically correct.  Highly effective leaders of innovation are often described as being inverse to their environment.  They believe that in the tension of the debate, great things are created.

  6. Be Curious 
    Intellectual curiosity is a quality always associated with cultures that consistently get to great work and cultures that know the value of this create and inspire their team to take time to absorb the world around them – go to galleries, spend time in nature.  Listen in.  Look up.