menu

Innocent Drinks Storymaker On Finding Truth From Within [PSFK LONDON]

Innocent Drinks Storymaker On Finding Truth From Within [PSFK LONDON]
Advertising

Creative Director Dan Germain shares his thoughts with PSFK on the importance of highlighting the human stories that drive the success of any organization.

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 8 september 2012

Dan Germain is the Head of Creative at Innocent, a majority-owned Coca-Cola beverage company that sells fruit drinks throughout Europe. As a member of the team from its independent beginning, he has learned the power of storytelling to help brands and their consumers relate to each other. At PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON, Dan will share key lessons he’s learned that hopefully can be applied to any business.

What does a creative director on the brand-side, Dan?

What I do in the business is run a team of people who act as an internal agency. These are the people who write copy, draw pictures, make adverts, design packaging, produce digital content, design what the office looks like… you know, just make sure that everything that we do looks, sounds, and feels as it should. I also have a responsibility throughout the business to make sure that whatever we do is culturally, socially and meaningfully ‘innocent’.

I guess the reason I ended up doing it was because when we started the business, we didn’t have any money to give to anyone else to do all that sort of stuff, so we just had to figure it all out for ourselves.

Then as we’ve grown, and we’ve been able to spend a bit of money, we have expanded to work with interesting external people and agencies. I make sure that firstly we have the best people internally to do the work that we need to do, and also that we don’t just sit around looking at each other; that we go outside and talk to other interesting people, find other new, stimulating things that will help us do stuff better.

innocent-fruit-smoothies

What would you say you have learned in the your first 13 years?

I’ve just learned that it’s really difficult to nail down what the correct tone of voice is. I think businesses spend ages trying to define what their tone of voice should be, without great effect.

Rather than spending a lot of time trying to define what the tone of voice is, it’s important just to find really good people internally to write; to be in‑house journalists. There’s loads of interesting stuff going on in our business, plenty of interesting stories happening, people out in the field, sourcing fruit from really amazing, interesting and out of the way places.

Our job is to get to those people who might not be natural storytellers, sit down with them when they get back from a trip, and ask them about everything that happened. Before they go, we might brief them to take pictures and to think about the people they meet, and note down the stories and the interestingness that they come across. Once we have those stories, we can figure out how and where to pass them on to our drinkers.

But we don’t just talk about fruit. We often cover themes that have absolutely nothing to do with what we sell. We just strive to be interesting. We scour the business and the wider world to find interesting stories and content.

In fact, we’re always thinking about material. I’ve never worked in a newspaper or a magazine, but it feels to me the same way that you would organize your staff, if you were an editor. You’ve got to keep thinking ahead to what’s going to be a newsworthy story whether that’s one week or six months ahead.

innocent-brand-staff

The idea of creative director as editor in chief is very interesting, no?

These days, more and more people I meet who work as creative directors seem to act as editors. They’re not necessarily the people coming up with the ideas. They’re not directly developing exciting content. They’re nudging things along and asking the right questions, which I guess is what editors ultimately do. You find time for people, you challenge your writers and your artists to think differently, and you assemble the right combinations of these clever people, and the right conditions for them to thrive. Then something interesting should happen.

You are going to speak at PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON on September 13. What will the audience hear about?

What I’d like to talk about is the importance of storytelling in a business or organization. Lots of great businesses and organizations seem to be a bit useless at telling their stories.

This may be down to the fact that not many businesses think in terms of stories, whereas pretty much all of human history and human experience is passed down from person to person, from generation to generation, as a story.

If you think of all the really interesting stuff that you’ve ever learned, or ever heard, the most interesting, the parts that stick the most, have come to you in the form of a story that a friend told you, or a grandparent, or that you read in a great book.

I just think that, even if your business is small, there will be someone there who can tell the story. They know the story and are actually thinking about what the story could be, in the coming months and years.

To not invest fully in creating and curating your organization’s story means that you miss a massive trick, because what you then end up doing is spending a ton of money on inventing some kind of fake story that never happened, but has to be turned into some sort of ad campaign, or book, or redesign or rebrand, which is usually a lot of bullshit.

Actually, the true story is the thing that people want to hear, that people love. They can relate to the people that tell them.

innocent-staff-drinks

We’re sure that the talk is going to be fascinating for everybody – whether they sit in small companies or a brand management company that manufactures brands where marketers are asking, “How do you bring the human spirit and storytelling back into the brand?”

No matter how big or small your organisation, if you put the right person from the start, you can be telling a real story about that new brand, from the beginning.

When we launch in new countries it’s a new start, every time. You find that you need to have your storyteller in place from the beginning. You will have someone taking care of sales, someone doing marketing, someone doing finance in your launch team, but you also have to have your storyteller in place so that they can be documenting what’s happening, and talking to people about it.

The launch story is where the tone, the ethos and the beliefs of a business spring from, so you need that person in place, conversing, responding, listening, right from the beginning.

Thanks Dan!

@dangermainInnocent

Come see Innocent Drink’s Creative Director speak at PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON on September 13.

Click the banner below to purchase tickets and find additional information about this year’s event.

Advertising
Trending

Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Advertising
Syndicated Yesterday

Banned Books Week Urges People To Seek Out Controversial Works

Joining the annual celebration of the right to read, US author Jessica Herthel called for 'more information, more voices' to protect diversity

Augmented & Virtual Reality Yesterday

Outdoor Camp Presented In 360° VR By X Games Gold Medalist

The video features campers riding BMX trails, zip lining through the woods, and performing big-air jumps

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants Passengers To Control Their In-Flight Experience Through Their Phones

The airline manufacturer is embracing automation through a new generation of mobile travel apps

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

VR Surgery Videos Offer Interactive Medical Education

Dutch startup MDLinking hopes to globalize communication between students and medical care professionals with virtual reality content

Related Expert

Nico Sell

Privacy, Trust, Communication

Culture Yesterday

Use Twitter To Learn A New Language

tDict is an app that uses the social media platform to help you search for words in local dialects

Mobile Yesterday

This Startup Wants To Digitize The Loose Coins In Your Pocket

CoinOut is a new app that lets you save your extra change from cash transactions as electronic funds

Advertising Yesterday

McDonald’s Is Accepting Trash As Currency In Exchange For Burgers

An initiative in Stockholm is trying to keep streets clean while satisfying hunger

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Creative Agency Founder: Using VR As A Race Relationship Tool

Maurice Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Giant Step, explores the value in transforming headsets from high-tech entertainment tools into empathy machines

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Culture Yesterday

Google Is Using Virtual Paper Airplanes To Bring People Closer Together

The tech giant released an app that lets people throw their good wishes out into the world on the International Day of Peace

Advertising Yesterday

Get Paid For Traveling In San Francisco After Rush Hour

BART Perks rewards commuters who take early or late trains by giving them extra points to trade for money

Culture Yesterday

Artist Designs Covers For Books That Don’t Exist

Published by the fictional 'Specious Books,' the subversive works facilitate a conversation regarding the artistic integrity of graphic designers

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Food Yesterday

Bringing Food Innovation To America’s Crowded Milk Market

a2 Milk's Blake Waltrip, Chief Executive of the USA region, discusses how the distributor plans on bringing the popular drink for the dairy-sensitive to the States

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Financial Services Yesterday

Device Makes Digital Currency Feel Tangible

The concept gadget wants you to experience the highs and lows of spending money

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

NBC Is Planning To Stream The Presidential Debates In Virtual Reality

Partnering with AltspaceVR, the broadcaster offers another way for Americans to engage with the election season

No search results found.