This report is reprinted with permission from the Green Eyed Event Planner.
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? Shhhhhhh … it’s starting!
Here comes Eric Ryan: blond 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 San Francisco company that makes cleaning products created without using “dirty” ingredients and designed so beautifully that you don’t have to “hide them under your sinks.”
The savvy Method team — 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.”
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, people were craving a product they knew was safe. They wanted to “do good.”
When Ryan shared the question that is threaded throughout his company’s 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.
It is intriguing to know that there is a little bit of madness to their Method method (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’s about resourcefulness combined with a little weird. These folks are not simply thinking out of the box. No, they have used a Q-tip, some chewing gum, an elastic band and duct tape to create a culture of creativity and innovation.
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, Ryan says.
This is a powerful statement. At Method, they sell a point of view that is consistent across the organization. They always ask for participation, and it’s important to keep the ego out of it. It’s a culture of open collaboration and sharing.
We all laughed when Ryan spoke to their hiring policies and that they “audition” their applicants. It’s important that they identify behaviors that embody values/culture of the organization — bringing their personal self to their professional life.
Method also trains everyone within the organization on how to be a marketer. Everyone is responsible for building the brand. A brilliant use of their most important resource: the people.
When Ryan said 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.
Method is very strategic when it comes to social media, and if you take a look at its website, it speaks volumes.
Method’s “humananifesto” is a collection of tweetable statements with the visual appeal of a poster. My favorites? “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.”
Sounds like fun right? The videos are lighthearted 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” 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’s about the story, and the Method story is remarkable. Truly one of the best keynotes that I have been fortunate enough to attend. It created a spark that will fuel me for a long, long time.
Remember (as Method and Virgin America would say), we are all in this together.