CO - Markinnovation

UltraCreativity - "Cannot" does not exist in my vocabulary!

UltraCreativity -
I’ve decided long ago that the word “cannot” does not exist in my vocabulary. For a simple reason: it limits your mind, it deprives you of the most amazing opportunities and kills any creative energy.

Let me give you an example. I came to Singapore as the Director of Marketing for BMW Asia – an incredible job for an incredible company in an incredible region. I took my responsibility very seriously. Not only was I passionate about BMW, but I was also passionate about building brands. My mission was clear: lifting the BMW brand to totally new heights across the region, creating unforgettable brand experiences and turning customers into fans.

So one day my team and I am sitting in our Creative Corner. The Creative Corner is basically the marketing department’s meeting room – but it all starts with the right mindset so we refer to it as an area for creativity. I invite my team to help brainstorm around an idea I recently had. I am visualizing a win-win partnership, powerful brand cooperation with none other than Leica Camera – the world’s most prestigious camera brand. The idea is simple: we partner up with Leica Camera and create a regional photo competition with events in each of our markets. After each local event, we run online voting and for the grand finale, we send the lucky winners of each country on a specially curated BMW X5 off-road safari to Namibia. Great PR, amazing customer engagement and not actually that expensive considering the ROI.  

It seems such a no-brainer, such a winning idea. Yet my team is slightly hesitant. Then one of them shares their concern. In a soft voice she says: Leica cannot, we better go for Canon, they run bigger events.

I am totally startled. Why would you go with a mainstream brand if you can potentially partner with the world’s number one? Why would you consider “joining” one of their many established events if you can create your own highly impactful campaign? Why would anyone say “cannot”? To avoid doing things outside the norm? To avoid taking risks? To avoid challenging the status quo? Isn’t this where the fun only starts?

I always say that there’s a universe of opportunities behind the comfort zone! Where there’s UltraCreativity there will be a success!

So rather than assuming that Leica wouldn’t be game I grab the phone and give the Managing Director of Leica Camera Asia Pacific a call. A week later Sunil Kaul and I meet for the first time. He’s a man of vision and immediately understands the potential as well as the mutual benefits of this incredible campaign. When we part we shake hands, the deal is done.

Then it comes to planning out the individual market events. For Singapore I imagine something stunning, an industry first. To add even more brand power to the equation the idea is the following:

An exclusive photo shooting at Changi Airport Singapore – repeatedly voted the best airport in the world. But not anywhere at Changi. I want two brand new BMW cars parked right in front of Singapore Airlines’ brand new A380 inside the airport premises! I can already visualize the incredible images our esteemed customers will be able to take. The wow’s they will utter, the memories this will create.

But all I hear is another hesitant “Sonja, cannot”. No-one has ever done an event inside (!) the holy grounds of Changi, no-one has ever dared to even ask. Well, that doesn’t stop me!

I fully accept a “cannot” on legal grounds. I accept it if it pushes beyond the physical boundaries, creates irritation or harm in any way. But I do not and will not accept a “cannot” simply because something has never been done before.

So again I grab the phone. I have to admit that this time it takes me a few more calls to get through to the right person and to finally get their ok. But do you see what I just wrote: “to get their ok”. Believe it or not, within a few weeks we have the confirmation that for the first time ever, Changi will open their doors to an exclusive corporate event and allow 2 x, 25 people, into their most secured area for a shooting that our clients will very clearly never forget. Thank you Leica, thank you Singapore Airlines, thank you Changi Airport for your incredible trust.

It goes without saying that the event, as well as the overall campaign, was a revving success.

What are the key learnings:

·       Immediately ban “cannot” from your vocabulary

·       There’s a universe of opportunities behind the comfort zone

·       UltraCreativity is the epitome of creativity and opens unimaginable worlds

·       Where there’s UltraCreativity there will be a success
  • Sonja Piontek
    Sonja Piontek
    ex Director Marketing BMW and CEO, Sonnenkind - Unforgettable Experiences

    Sonja is passionate about building brands, creating unforgettable experiences and growing businesses. Sonja has vast experience in Asia as well as working and dealing with HNWI (high net worth individuals). The Munich born leader is daring, driven and delivers. During the years as Marketing Director for BMW Asia, Sonja was responsible for the brand’s strategy and marketing activities across Asia, including the introduction of the BMW brand into new markets. Prior to this posting, Sonja was Head of Naming and Branding for BMW globally. Overall, Sonja has worked in leading roles for BMW Group internationally for almost 15 years.  Sonja is an acclaimed international keynote speaker that has inspired audiences in Asia and Europe alike. She is a published author and acclaimed photojournalist that regularly writes for reputable business and luxury publications worldwide. Following her ethos of giving, she is also an active mentor to various young executives from different cultural backgrounds. Sonja is originally from Munich/Germany. She holds an MBA 'Business and Culture Studies' from the University of Passau/Germany and Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung/Indonesia. Sonja has lived in six countries: Germany, Austria, Indonesia, New Zealand, China and Singapore and speaks five languages: German, English, French, Bahasa Indonesia, Mandarin. visit www.SonjaPiontek.com

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