I had no idea what to expect.
As I sat in the audience the first morning of the 2013 GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference, waiting for Eric Ryan to take the stage, I simply had no idea.
Was I going to be disappointed?
Here comes Eric Ryan: blonde hair, winning smile and a boy next-door quality that is immediately endearing. No dark hoodie a la Mark Zuckerberg, no “my generation is smarter than your generation” attitude. We all sat up a little straighter, and leaned in.
Ryan is the co-founder of method®, a line of cleaning products that have been created without using “dirty” ingredients and designed so beautifully that you don’t have to “hide them under your sinks”. (source www.methodhome.com)
A perfect combination of High Design + Deep Sustainability
The savvy method® team of Ryan and partner Adam Lowry, understood that they needed to strike an emotional chord with consumers.
They needed to understand the culture.
“Culture is our only sustainable competitive advantage
Get the culture right, get the product right” Eric Ryan
It can be said that folks were ready for method® products. In a world filled with headlines about oil spills, global warming and other environmental catastrophes, folks were craving a product that they knew was safe. They wanted to “do good”.
......Weird people are the ones that change the world
When Ryan shared the question which is threaded throughout their company culture “How do we keep it weird”, everyone laughed and then immediately tweeted it. I haven’t checked, but I am thinking that “keep it weird” became the most tweetable three words of the conference.
How will you help keep Method weird? Eric Ryan says they ask potential employees because they create great new innovations #gmicconference
— Katherine Manfredi (@KManfredi) April 8, 2013
It was intriguing to know that there is a little bit of madness to their method® method (yes, pun intended) . They wanted to bring the scarcity of fun to cleaning!
Everyone within the method® organization is consistently thinking, “what would MacGyver do?”. It is about resourcefulness, combined with a little weird. These folks are not simply thinking out of the proverbial box…no…..they have used a Q-tip, some chewing gum, an elastic band and some duct tape and created a culture of creativity and innovation.
"Weird is a cultural value - weird people change the world." Eric Ryan, Method #gmicconference
— Julie A. Baylor, CHA (@JulieBaylor) April 8, 2013
At method®, “everything is a beta test”
Yes…apparently they are always thinking prototype, prototype, prototype! If you dream it, then build it. What an amazing work environment!
Sell a point of view.................
This was a powerful statement. At method®, they sell a point of view consistent across the organization. They always ask for participation and it is important to keep the ego out of it. It is a culture of open collaboration and sharing.
We all laughed when Eric spoke to their hiring policies and that they “audition” their applicants. It is important that they identify behaviours that embody values/culture of the organization - bringing their personal self to their professional life.
“The soul can not be outsourced”
They also train everyone within the organization how to be a marketer - everyone is responsible for building the brand. A brilliant use of their most important resource: the people.
.....Everything needs to be visually shareable
When Eric stated that “everything needs to be visually shareable” I wasn’t sure what he meant. He followed that statement with “No social mission? No social media” and then it clicked.
They are very strategic when it comes to social media and if you take a look at their website it speaks volumes.
Their humananifesto is a collection of tweetable statements, with the visual appeal of a poster that you could hang in your office. My favourite? “good always prevails over stinky” and “we exercise by running through the legs of the giant…which is even more fun when the sprinkler is going”. Don’t those scream FUN?
Sounds like fun right? The videos are fun and light hearted and an extension of the company culture. Titles like, “give your nose a hug”, “high five a rainbow” , “clean like a mother” and “say no to jugs” immediately scream CLICK ME!
I want to work there
I want to join their team
At the very least…I want to buy their products.....and I will.
At the end of the day, it is about the story and the method® story is remarkable. Truly one of the best keynotes that I have been fortunate enough to attend; creating a spark that will fuel me for a long, long time.
Remember.....we are all in this together (courtesy of method® & Virgin America):