Brave-hearted marketing - London Braver Conference 2018

Brave-hearted marketing - London Braver Conference 2018

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By John Kearon

If only all conferences were as genuinely brave and inspirational as this one was. We learned how hierarchy, blame and control get in the way of bravery, the importance of accepting pain, failure and disadvantage as unwanted but necessary drivers of bravery and just how damned, “difficult, difficult, lemon-difficult” it is.

To honour perhaps the first conference I’ve ever been to, without a single weak presentation, here’s my attempt to summarise and thank each of the wonderful speakers.

Labels are for jam jars – Caroline Casey
Striding the stage in leathers and 5-inch heels, Caroline told how she crossed India on an elephant to fund 6,000 cataract operations and how her #valuable inclusion revolution has reached 810 million people. All before mentioning she’s blind. Wow, inclusion really is ‘the new green’.

Fast forward to the relationship economy – Thomas Barta
The path to bravery is not in your job description but in how you best achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. Check out your own bravery  

Play more and fear less – Cecilia Weckstrom
Even more to love about LEGO, who have committed to making all their core products and packaging from sustainable materials by 2030 – their 1st sustainable bricks enter production soon.

Some days you’re the Pidgeon, some days you’re the statue – Tor Garnett
As well as sharing the perils of hierarchy, blame and control to organisational bravery and the Police’s impressive, progressive approaches to reducing violent crime, like #take90, we learnt the Met’s, really quite like ‘The Body Guard’ but with less shagging.

Be decadently decent - Sophi Tranchell
It’d be rude to resist, given Mr Bua and the Ghanaian cocoa farmers, have gone to the trouble of making decadence quite so Divine.

Football saved my life - Eric Murangwa
Amid the horror of the Rwandan genocide, Eric’s teammates risked their own lives to save his and others. Theirs and Eric’s bravery continues through remarkable organisations like, Football for Peace Unity and Reconciliation.

Express yourself and play without fear – Martin Glenn
After England lost to Iceland – the population equivalent of losing to Doncaster - the suit behind Gareth Southgate’s waistcoat, endured a daily bathing in national criticism, to create the changes needed to encourage fearless football and better results for both the men’s and women’s teams.

Open-heart surgery in public - Michelle McEttrick
How Michelle joined Tesco during their darkest days and had to fight her fears of incompetence, engendered by  zero retail experience, to find the bravery to learn fast, find her voice and ensure her fresh perspective could contribute to Dave Lewis’ Tesco turn around.

Golf-England ate my bonus – Pete Markey
‘No dogs or ladies allowed’ should, perhaps have been an early warning sign of the subsequent, painful failure of the AA golf club membership drive Pete led. In hindsight, his rock-bottom became the cornerstone of his many TSB marketing achievements since.

Blackbelt in worrying - Syl Saller
A natural worrier, Syl had to learn how to let go and live vulnerably, as amply demonstrated by Diageo’s Leadership Programme, created by the Exec and taught through their personal stories of trials, tribulations and occasional triumphs.

Saddle-up and trust your gut – Steve Langan
The company’s ‘encouraging courage’ culture, comes from Robert Hiscox himself, well-known for 'speaking truth to power’. Steve encouraged us to saddle up, trust your gut and get busy with the million small moments of courage needed for successful marketing bravery.

Adding value and bringing joy – Jaz Ampaw-Farr
Jaz, celebrated the everyday heroes, like Mrs Cook her primary school teacher, who helped her overcome a terrible start in life, to make her who she is today.  And boy, is she somebody! She made us laugh, cry and realise bravery may not feel like it when you’re doing it but is always best when adding value and bringing joy to others ‘Because of You, This is Me’

A cautionary tale – Marcus John Henry Brown
Unlike anything you’ve seen before, Marcus’ delightfully alarming & disarming, dystopian, TED talk meets Black Mirror marketing special, ‘The Passing’ was the perfect end to the Braver conference.

Whether your bravery results in failure or fame, do it magnificently, playfully and gracefully.

Written by John Kearon Founder and CEO, System1 Group PLC

Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 20 Nov 2018
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