Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ruby Fowler - Inspirational Player

I believe that inspiration is the one certain way to transform business. It’s about being the best you can be, stepping up and being determined to make a difference. The challenge today is not just to be inspired by your own ideas, but also by the ideas of others. The people you want to connect and communicate with, sell to, build relationships with. You have to understand what thrills and attracts them, be able to delight them with your commitment, empathy and passion, and to learn from them so you can find exciting new opportunities.

The great thing about inspiration is that it can appear anywhere. I was reminded of this when a friend from New Zealand sent me a newspaper article about a woman called Ruby Fowler. It seems that Ruby has put together a clothing business that has become an instant Lovemark. The numbers are still small, but through her intense empathy with the people who buy her garments, she is quickly building up a business that is filling an important need. The kicker is that Mary is 88, and many of her customers are in the same age range! Mary not only saw that there was a gap in the market for attractive clothes for older women, she did something about it and inspired others to join her.

The truth is you don’t have to wave your hands around and put gel in your hair to inspire people. What you do have to do is understand what attracts them and create things that are meaningful in their lives.

Let’s pop a cork to Ruby Fowler, Inspirational Player.


Susan Plunkett said...

Good for Ruby. She's right of course. Unless you can afford to pay for designer clothes - and even there you'd be pushing it - there is little really attractive on the market for our older citizens and nor is there a lot for low income larger sizes. This demographic often need to depend on the vagaries of the K-Mart buyers who, fifteen years ago may have showed imagination. Now we often have unsuitable fabrics for the climate, bad cuts and black, black and dark grey.

andrew said...

reminds me of an old book 'How to win friends and influence people' by Dale Carnegie. Worth a read to illustrate the psychology that appears to drive people.

PS wanted to post something on the Coppola story, bit late but here it is now. I'm experiencing the reverse, I'm an engineer who is following my passion to be a photographer and finding the media and advertising world to be somewhat conservative and safe. The current trend and fear in people seems to drive compliance and risk aversion. Companies then wonder why they are stagnating and try to teach the same folk to be innovative, whilst still trying to maintain a safe environment. A recipe to get left behind for sure

Susan Plunkett said...

Andrew, Interesting question. Certainly my observation and experience lead me to see the marketing/advertising/'creative' industry as just as exclusive, afraid and issue ridden as any other. And yes Andrew, as capable of floundering it is own cultural stagnation as any other group. There is little genuine initiative in drawing people and ideas from other fields.

All this said, every field does have it's expertise. I did an exercise recently in copywriting and although writing is largely my craft, I found it way harder than I thought. There were all manner of minutae that I had to consider. Now, even the exercise alone taught me a lot I needed to know so aspects of the work aren't beyond an intelligent and capable person's pick-up, nonetheless I had to concede field expertise.

If it helps at all I read a great piece some months ago which described why an engineer would find it quite easy to learn advertising but advertising people who find it much harder to grapple with engineering.

I think part of the art of each societal sub-culture Andrew is recognising that very little has really changed across the last couple of decades (in particular). The inherent advertising message really changes little - it's just the bells and whistles and technological context that tends to alter.

Kevin Roberts said...

Andrew / Susan - As you know I am a great believer in the consumer being boss. Is that a problem for people who want to push out the boat? Can be. Change is always tough to implement. It is one of the reasons we created Peak Performance. Having studied a raft of high performance sports teams we found that change comes best out of inspiration. It really doesn't matter how out there your ideas are, if you can inspire people with them they will give it a go. Is it easy? No. Talk to the authors who trek their blockbuster books from publisher to publisher before they get a break. Listen to inventors who face ridicule and laughter before their life changing idea becomes the passionate delight of everyone who critiqued it. Safe is a four letter word for not trying hard enough. Turn it into belief.

Kevin Roberts said...

Also Susan re your first comment - Maybe a gap in the market for you to set up in Oz :)

Susan Plunkett said...

I'm not intuitive enough re the rag trade and I can't sew - so I could not commence on my own. I want ground under my feet Kevin before I leap into unknown areas. When I have the ground I will though. But I would probably move more into philanthropy of some sort. Which, yes, could involve the rag trade.