Nice guys can come first – Richard Reed of innocent

Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 10.48.28I enjoyed reading Richard Reed, one of innocent's founders, talking about what he's learnt about business. I met him briefly at the innnocent AGM, and the "I Know" column in Marketing reinforced my impression that he is a genuinely nice bloke. 

Here are my favourite snippets from the article.

1. You get more by being nice than being nasty. 

Its inspiring to hear Richard talk about getting ahead in life and business without resorting to "the media stereotype of successful business people as ego-driven table thumpers, who exploit weakness and win by putting others down." The way of doing business he proposes is much better in my view: "In reality, leaders who build and nurture teams, set and live by high standards and are generous with praise and rewards make it big more often."

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2. Something is either hot or not.

Richard's reinforces the founding idea of this blog: create great products that combine product sausage and emotional sizzle. The best form of advertising is a great product or service that sells itself. He says, "It is fundamentally necessary to provide a product or service that has innate desirability. If you do, then your business  will be engaged in delivering and meeting the resulting demand. If you make something that is second-rate, your business  will be mainly consumed with trying to flog a dead horse." 

3. Keep the main thing the main thing. 

This one rings a bell, right? Bang in line with our Grow the Core philosophy, Richard talks about staying focused on what made you famous, and getting better and better at it. "It is important to know what you want, then make every decision against whether it helps get you there or not." Specifically about innocent, he goes on to say,  "At Innocent, on our good days, we are a food and design company, led by how things taste and look. If we nail those two things, we succeed. When we lose sight of them, we fail."

4. Small denotes size, not significance. 

innocent is a good example of a brand who delivers not only smart strategy but also excellence in execution. Richard comments, "The small details, be they in the product, the marketing, the internal culture or the main strategic choices, were as significant as the big decision. The funny details delivered a point of difference essential for getting noticed and remembered." I posted on this theme back in 2007, here.

In conclusion, Richard's take on how to get ahead in business is useful for anyone starting their career, but also a good reminder for all of us.