Those really nice people at Innocent really are nice

have said some very nice things about us”

I bet they
have. So here’s a bit more. I’m sure will be lost in the waves of quirky, warm comments that appear to hit those very nice people at Innocent on a daily basis. I remained cynical, particularly from such a spectacularly successful
brand (they have to know exactly what
they are doing) run by an ex ad man

Innocent’s Richard
Reed kicked off the Young Entrepreneurs competition at
Roehampton University last Friday. I was shot after leading a three day residential course but this turned out to be one of those days that remind you how lucky you are to do what you do.

Excellent event organised
brilliantly by the university, trying to define what is and how can I be an entrepreneur.
Practical too, culminating in a competition responding to a creative brief. The kids loved it, exceeding expectations with some great ideas for genuinely innovative products.

Richard’s opening
presentation was pitch perfect. Not just a coup. More pertinently, a consummate delivery of persuading
an audience to adopt your point of view. Richard put every ounce of his being
into encouraging several hundred teenagers to make the most of opportunities  A poignant and passionate challenge to engage
with and change this amazing world for the better.

Beyond such
vital, slightly idealistic rhetoric lay specific strategies that had everyone
of us in the audience gripped.  All gold
dust for my sessions with the students on how to present. What did he do? Well…

He personalised. The slides related to
this audience, today. No money it for him and sure, I do not doubt they were on
file. Devil is in the detail, always, and little touches like ” prepared for the the nice
young entrepreneurs at Roehampton” resonated with us. And their brand,
obviously. He used story- the story
of the product, his journey as a (slightly disturbingly savvy) 4 year old entrepreneur.
He humanised and contextualised all
of his thinking in the stories of the three original partners. He made us laugh. The slides were simple, creative, direct
and ruthlessly edited. He urged social action, defining entrepreneurialism beyond
the Sugar-esque money grabbing clichés.  He
encouraged teenagers to seek and seize opportunities,
relating personal and professional values to wider initiatives
Peace One Day a pertinent example.  With of course the obligatory Angelina Jolie Reference.

He cared that we cared.

Unquestionably formative stuff for the audience. Extraordinary how many of the students
could deconstruct how and why he was effective.

Richard was
joined by Eleanor Ford from Likecube. A different perspective- a start-up but again
the enthusiasm Eleanor oozed was infectious. Fascinating web based product too- less tangible than  smoothies sure but I bet lots of the audience have logged on since.

I care deeply about both of these products.So did all
of us. Big lessons.They did
this for free, motivated by a sense that they want to make a difference.

Altruism is
always worth it.

Believe the
hype. Sometimes brands do deserve their reputation.


11th June, 2007