Vulnerability is where the brilliance happens
People who know 9BAR, know it as full of super seeds, a proper energy boost and a brave, plucky little brand. So how was it that their Marketing Director came to The Clearing last month to talk about vulnerability? Vulnerability is a word usually associated with weakness; but which Kerry Collinge revealed is actually “where the brilliance happens”.
We have all been told, as marketers, to embrace the uncomfortable, because chances are it means we are stretching the boundaries. When our gut feeling is anxious, but excited, it means we are doing something different; but Kerry took this thinking to a new level. Whilst vulnerability is often seen as harmful, she exposed it as the ‘birthplace of innovation, change and creativity’ and argued that without vulnerability great ideas are lost.
With a long history of working with creatively brilliant brands, from Stella Artois to Cadbury, Kerry explained the creative process and how central vulnerability is to doing it well. From the initial excitement of the brief (“This is gonna be awesome”) to the doubt during the development of ideas (“This is terrible… I’m terrible”) to the finished work (“Hey, not bad”… “That was awesome”) – without anxiety and feeling exposed we never get to great. This vulnerability can be felt on a professional level, but also a deeply personal level.
Taking it one step further, Kerry talked about the importance of vulnerability within the 9BAR organisation, ‘exposing’ a truth about the company’s use of Palm Oil in the process. She explained how, even the most difficult conversations, need to be not only faced, but owned, by brands. Hiding stories because we fear them is not only irresponsible, but potentially damaging. Just like great leaders, Kerry argued, great brands should expose everything.
The feeling we walked away with after listening to Kerry was very empowering:
- Be yourself
- Be human
- Be honest
- Be vulnerable
Watch the whole of Kerry’s talk at The Clearing below.