Farrimond, Aug 20, 2017

What can our businesses learn from Emirates Team New Zealand?

At a course I recently attended, one of the key points that resonated with me was that ‘no one is coming to help you’. What the organisers meant was that, at the end of the day, we are all the masters/mistresses of our own destiny. We can’t dictate what others do and how they do it. All we can control is what we do, how we act and how hard we push ourselves.


Emirates Team New Zealand has really shown us just what can be achieved when we look past the status quo and, literally and figuratively, push the boat out.


Grant Dalton has often been heard to say that ‘we threw the ball as far as we possibly could and then chased after it’. In business, especially in the advertising and marketing world, how often do we simply accept what has always been done as the only way to do things?


What areas of your business could benefit from challenging the status quo? At Farrimond, we are in the process of thoroughly analysing our approach; even to the extent of interrogating the ways we have always interacted with some of our long-standing clients. We’re also challenging our most fundamental processes and simply asking ourselves what we can change in order to do even better. 


Since the inception of Team New Zealand and even prior to that with the three New Zealand entries as America’s Cup challengers in ‘87, ‘88 and ‘92, we were always going to be outspent. But isn’t this the way New Zealand has always been? We’ve always been the little guys at the bottom of the world doing more with less.


The same applies to our business.


Shopper Marketing doesn’t attract the behemoth budgets that above-the-line activity enjoys and, compared to other countries, our population is just not big enough to warrant elevated spends. So, we have to find clever ways to do more with less.


The inspirational Sir Peter Blake had a mantra that applied to everything he did for Team New Zealand. When faced with any everyday decision, big or small, he simply asked the question ‘will this make the boat go faster?’ One day, new carpet arrived at the base and he asked the guy who had ordered it ‘will this make the boat go faster?’ The answer was no, so the carpet was rolled up sent away again.


Taking this learning back to our businesses, we need to make sure that what we do carries the biggest possible gains. Our version of this mantra throws up two basic questions. One, ‘is this the best possible creative/executional approach for this job and this budget?’ and, two, ‘will this sell more XX?’


So, our two major outtakes from Emirates Team New Zealand’s glorious Bermuda campaign are to look deep within the business and its processes and challenge what has always been done to see if it can be done better and absolutely always challenge ourselves (even when we feel as if we are beyond busy) to wind up, throw the ball as high and far as we can and chase like there’s no tomorrow.