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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Saatchi CEO Shares Advertising Expertise

erin napier for THE HOYA Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Worldwide Kevin Roberts provides insight into creative advertising in Lohrfink Auditorium on Feb. 2
erin napier for THE HOYA
Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Worldwide Kevin Roberts provides insight into creative advertising in Lohrfink Auditorium on Feb. 2

CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi Kevin Roberts discussed how companies today are changing businesses through creative advertising Tuesday evening in the Lohrfink Auditorium during an event titled, “Winning the World: How to Succeed in the Age of the Idea.”

The event was sponsored by the Georgetown Retail & Luxury Association as part of the Stanton Distinguished Leaders Series.

Saatchi & Saatchi is one of the world’s leading advertising agencies, with offices around the world. Since beginning his tenure at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1997, Roberts has shaped a variety of global brands from Duracell to Cadbury to Lexus.

Over the course of his hour-long lecture, Roberts advised students on how to succeed while make the world a better place after graduation. He spoke about the importance of knowledge, skills and attitude in the workplace, and he said that a strong desire to win is necessary for success.

“You need to want to win within the context of making the world a better place for everyone,” Roberts said. “When you go out of here you can go make a difference, or you can just get out of there and join the herd.”
Before the lecture began, Tiara Kawser (MSB ’15), a member of GRLA, explained the group’s mission.

“Over the past two and a half years, the Georgetown Retail and Luxury Association has striven to bring students events that both inspire and educate,” Kawser said. “Our goal is to provide them with opportunities to learn and engage with the world of luxury … We are absolutely thrilled to have with us a visionary from one of the most globally recognized names in advertising.”

VUCA was a buzz acronym that Roberts frequently referred to throughout his talk. Standing for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, Roberts described VUCA as a new guiding principle in today’s world in an effort to describe how tumultuous the current business environment is.

“It is very difficult to strategize more than 100 days out in a world where everything is changing and up in the air in a geopolitical sense, in a micro sense, in an innovation sense, in a technology sense,” Roberts said.

Roberts said he hoped that students could transform this VUCA world into a “SuperVUCA world,” one that is vibrant, unreal, crazy and astounding. He stressed the importance of a little bit of crazy.

“It is only the crazy people who have the vitality, faith, belief and absolute craziness to foster an idea,” he said. “You’ve got to be crazy to keep your idea alive.”

Roberts listed his five tips for success, to be purpose-driven, a creative leader, think with your heart, inspire everyone you touch and fail fast, learn fast, fix fast.

Roberts also stressed the importance of envisioning a five-year dream. After telling students to lay out their own five-year plans, he spoke of the dream of his own company, Saatchi & Saatchi.

“I dream that the role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone,” Roberts said. “Saatchi has a dream to be revered, not liked or respected. We want to be a hothouse. We want to flourish and grow in inhospitable climes, creating ideas that are world-changing.”

Michelle Zhou (MSB ’16) said that Roberts was one of the greatest speakers she has heard since coming to Georgetown. She said the talk made her realize the vast number of opportunities available to business students outside of finance and banking.

“The talk really helped take the average Georgetown MSB student out of the mindset that banking and finance is the only way to go. There is so much more out there and there is value to it,” she said.

Hoya Staff Writer Katherine Richardson contributed reporting.

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