How cutting the bullsh*t can set you free

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The real story about the people behind the idea and company is often lost completely as founders try to hide the truth about the chaos that surrounds them.


 

4 years ago to the day, Watch Me Think secured their first ever contracts for video based consumer immersions.  (Thanks Kathryn at Colgate and Carl at Kraft/Mondelez)

In a recent interview,  I was asked to describe how Vince, Ste and I came to form Watch Me Think – an extract is here and, apologies, I am aware that some people are more suited to radio than TV 🙂

 

The thing is, when you read about the launch of many companies, it is often written in such corporate language that portrays the company as a finished product, rather than a work in progress.  The real story about the people behind the idea and company is often lost completely

as founders try to hide the truth about the chaos that surrounds them.

So while it is essential you make it clear that the wheels are not falling off completely; based on our experience, I would say that it is a mistake to pretend that you have learned more than you have, especially in the early days.

In fact I think one of the things that we have done really well since day 1, is not falling into the trap of bullshitting clients that we knew more than we did.

While our launch strategy was not quite in the Kevin Costner “If you build it they will come” bracket,  we were very clear with clients at the time that we were not sure how they could best leverage our services to gain most value.

The result?

While for the more risk averse, an unproven approach like ours was seen as completely unpalatable, day-by-day we attracted more and more clients globally who loved the idea of experimenting with new ways of solving old problems and learning with us.

More importantly,  the types of people we appealed to happened to be some of the best Global Insight, Innovation and Category folks in the world. Those early adopters who forge the paths for the rest to follow.

It effectively meant that our NPD department (which we did not have a budget for) was actually our clients.

So what has happened in the 4 years since that day?

Our Consumer Closeness toolbox, sentiment based search engine for video and the ability to reach into over 40 Countries has disrupted the way 21 of the top 25 Global FMCG manufacturers connect with consumers and collect and present insights.  

From our initial office – i.e. my front room in Brisbane – we now have operations in Australia, Europe and the US.

In 2016, we plan to take Watch Me Think into new industries and geographies.

The strategy for success will be the same as the last 4 years,

  • Experiment with clients to define new solutions.
  • Continue to learn with them and
  • Don’t pretend to have the answers before we do.

 

I know it doesn’t sound that fancy, but it works for us.