Scott Bedbury: Serving Others in All You Do

Scott Bedbury: Serving Others in All You Do

In today’s episode, we sit down with Scott Bedbury, world-renowned brand consultant, author, and speaker who has played a central role in the success of massive names like Nike, Starbucks, and Airbnb. His bestselling book, A New Brand World, is a must-read for anyone working in business today.

Press the play button above to hear Scott Bedbury share his branding expertise

In this show, we talk about the erosion of trust in an internet age of powerful corporations, the need to return to a culture of empathy, and the radically human spirit behind the campaigns he worked on while helping build some of the biggest brands on the planet.

“Trust is the crucible. Trust is everything.” — @scottbedbury [0:17:55.1]

We kick off the discussion hearing about the themes in Scott’s new book, where he describes the threats to values like authenticity, empathy, and trust posed by profit-hungry corporations leveraging the power of the internet.

We then move onto hear the many incredible stories of the brands and people Scott worked with. He tells tales such as the one where he created the transcendent Just Do It campaign with his creative partners at Weiden+Kennedy which featured a young Michael Jordan and a young Spike Lee during his early days as Head of Advertising at Nike.

The people and teams Scott worked with were special, driven by a different set of motives to the cold, profit-driven culture that fuels most big businesses today.

Scott describes Petri dishes of authentic innovators who valued courageous creativity, openness to mistakes, gut instincts over data, and the notion that customers are first and foremost people. Scott’s central message is that with great power comes great responsibility, so be sure to tune in for this legendary discussion.

“What I try and do for clients is get their value statement down to a single sentence. Purpose. I think that’s about the best you can do because people might remember that. I think Nike’s today is, ‘To bring innovation and inspiration to the athlete in all of us,’ and that is just a minor variation of what we were doing 30 years ago about the emotional and physical benefits of sports and fitness. But I think we have never needed purpose, a redeeming, noble purpose, not just for customers but for our own employees, more than right now. The amount of power that has been aggregated in a smaller and smaller amount of hands, both individuals and corporations is staggering and the question becomes, ‘What are they doing with that power?’” — @scottbedbury [0:32:04.1]

A New Brand World: a classic business book and must read for any entrepreneur or business person
A New Brand World: a classic business book and must read for any entrepreneur or business person

Key Points From Our Episode with Scott Bedbury:

  • Themes of the erosion of trust and authenticity in the internet age in Scott’s new book.
  • The power of the internet for good and bad and the responsibility this puts on us.
  • Conscious Capitalism and millennials: Movements toward a culture of ownership
  • Scott’s perspective that the missing piece in corporate philosophy is empathy.
  • The focus on ideals like inspiration more than the product itself.
  • The repositioning behind the Just Do It campaign and how inspirational/disruptive it was.
  • What led to Scott becoming the CMO for Starbucks and what he learned in this role.
  • The theme of the need for humanity in Scott’s dream for how companies should treat people.
  • Themes of finding core values and making the world better in the story of working on the Airbnb ‘Belong’ campaign.
  • •How important it is for companies to have a noble, driving purpose.
  • Meeting Mark Zuckerberg; perspectives on Facebook and surveillance capitalism.
  • Memories of Jeff Bezos sketching out the idea for recommendation algorithms.
  • IQ without EQ; what visionary disruptors may have overlooked due to their foresight.
  • Working with Phil Knight and the culture of innovation and openness to mistakes at Nike.
  • The idea that creativity is nothing without courage.
  • The gut-based approach to ‘marketing’ at Nike versus data driven insights of today.
  • Remembering the culture of willingness to make discoveries working with Weiden+Kennedy and Nike shooting a commercial with Michael Jordan and Spike Lee.
  • The role of education in combating power plays like the spread of divisive information in elections.
  • The need to expose kids to making art because of the added awareness it gives you.
  • How companies need to start recognizing customers as people.
  • A story about Michael Jordan showing empathy to his fans that we can learn a lesson from.
  • Heartening facts about a new reality where Black leaders aren’t unusual.
  • The need to instill a sense in our children that we are here to serve.
Classic Nike Advertising Campaign
Classic Nike Advertising Campaign

“It was my hope that if the book would even just take one big corporation and make it a better company, not just a bigger company, all the effort I put into writing that first book would be worth it.” — @scottbedbury [0:16:43.1]

“Pay attention to me and understand me. Don’t just target me.” — @scottbedbury [0:26:48.1]

“A few people in the industry, these disruptors, they’re just around the bend and we are not quite seeing what they see, and I think that’s the hardest thing, is to help them understand that from their vantage point they may have overlooked a couple of things.” — @scottbedbury [0:40:36.1]

“Behind every statistic is a human being.” — @scottbedbury [1:01:11.1]

Scott was CMO for Starbucks during its growth in the 1990s
Scott was CMO for Starbucks during its growth in the 1990s

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

“It is a really good thing to do with our children is to instill in them that sense that we are here to serve. It is not just about us. We are here to serve others. Particularly those on the fringes and those who don’t have what we have. That is the long-term best hope I have for everything is if everybody believes they have a commitment to somebody else, that this narcissism we seem to be swimming in these days is pretty toxic. I’m fired up about that. And I love it when I see it in people. When they could be doing a million other things but they are actually helping somebody do something else, or they are taking the power of their corporation and doing something phenomenal with it.” — @scottbedbury [1:10:31.1]

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.