The 'Believe' Talk with Vadim Grigoryan
Last week IFA welcomed Vadim Grigoryan, a Creative Director and Brand Strategist, to speak to the MBA students about what he believes will help to succeed in the world of art and creativity, as well as about the most important features of a good marketer that benefit the process of creation and innovation in business.
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan Vadim studied rocket science at the Moscow State Technical University, which was ‘a great experience, but a bit boring’ for him, so he decided to follow his passion for art and fashion and did an MBA in management at the INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau, where he developed an award-winning strategic project for Diesel.
He joined Pernod Ricard as marketing director for Russia and Eastern Europe, repositioning Ararat, Chivas Regal, Olmeca, Perrier-Jouët and Martell through a series of events that he creatively directed. Martell Voyage in Courchevel and Olmeca Gold Fever in St Petersburg and St Tropez have become local legends.
His success prompted a move to Paris as Director of Creativity and Luxury for Pernod Ricard where he refined his trademark approach – developing a new generation luxury brand rooted in humanity’s constant search for immortality and launching Scalpel, a bi-annual book on emerging talent and working directly with designers, artist, writers and noses to make brands into active cultural agents.
Vadim currently consults brands and institutions such as Mugler, Hugo Boss or Art Baselon art direction and creative strategy. Alongside his brand work, he has written several case studies published by INSEAD and runs Creavi, a small artistic research initiative that blends together food and transcendence.
As a distinctive and idiosyncratic creative director, he shared with the students his path as a creative professional in the industry, assessed his experiences and shared some learnings and beliefs he developed throughout his career.
Vadim was really descriptive while talking about his experience building a career in Luxury, constantly mentioning challenging situation that occurred during various events and projects and fun encounters with the industry experts.
We share some of the learnings Vadim proposes for developing one’s career in the luxury business, covering topics such asimportance of a physical object and the impact it makes, cultural connection of fashion brands and cultural education of good marketers, and the ability for a product to work on multiple levels, the life-changing impact of the most famous art shows.
WHO ARE THE STARS OF TOMORROW?
As marketers you have to work with really creative people, constantly identifying ‘the stars of tomorrow’, looking at different fields of creativity, food, music, photography…According to Vadim, ’fashion brands as any other cultural brands have to be connected culturally’. You cannot be expert of everything, but in your network you need to have people who can connect you to the right people in all these fields. Calling these people ‘connectors’. Vadim emphasised not only the financial, but educational and social importance of them.
WHERE THE REAL CREATIVITY COMES FROM?
‘Culture is funumental’, admits Vadim. ‘In my life I hired a couple of hundred of people… the good ones are those with general cultural education, doesn’t matter which university you went to, if you don’t have general cultural education – you’re a marketing burocrate’, he says.
No doubt, creativity is, above all, knowing thing and connecting them. Which means a creator, as well as a marketer, needs constant ‘food for brain’, constant learning, constant discovery… If you don’t know what’s going on – you have nothing to connect, thus nothing to create from.
This is the reason why now Vadim only consults brands that really understand the importance of the product and culture, as he believes that this is how an aspirational brand should be developed – Cult of Product & Cult of Culture is the key. He believes that in terms of any product, you have to bring something beyond the transactional value of the product and beyond the aesthetics.
TO EXPERIENCE OR NOT TO EXPERIENCE?
‘If you want to be good marketers – go to Ducumenta!’, insists Vadim, repeatedly emphisising the importance of the art event, which back in the day has served as a life changing experience for him.
‘One of the interesting things of developing collaboration with artists, you benefit not only from their aesthetic output, but also their aura and network.’ While working on series of artists bars, where different artists were responsible for everything from design, look and feel to the programming of the space (such as pop-up installations full of animations etc), Vadim realised the importance of the experiences, both digital and physical. He believes that successful pieces of communication and creation have to exist and work on multiple levels: ‘Imagine when journalists come to the event – you need to give them a reason to come and cover the topic, not just aesthetics and the look’.
We share Vadim’s‘Visional Marketing Rules’and believes,written by different academics,that he shared with us during his inspiring presentation below.
I BELIEVE IN…
A JOB WELL-DONE, INITIALLY, FOR ITS OWN SAKE
You wake up every morning, you go to work… it is crucial go through this routine because you genuinely want to do your job well… Marketing can also be considered as craft. Find a motivation and create a motivation to have such an approach to work is the only way to create something of great value which will make you happier. Money can not be the aim, the genuine passion will bring money.
You can never be an expert in everything. Collaboration is a way to get something you don’t have or know by mutual respect and cooperation.
CONTINUOUS RESEARCH AND CONTINUOUS STRIVING FOR PERFECTION – EVEN IF IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE
You will always have a lot of constraints and by continuously researching and learning will eventually bring you to the final destination.Endless learning, researching, practising is like swimming in the ocean – you don’t see the shore, you don’t even know where you are going, but if you stop swimming you are going to drown. The idea of perfection is in continuous attempt to improve and continuous striving.
UNDERSTANDING HUMAN MOTIVATIONS SHOULD BE BASED ON PHILOSOPHICAL, ANTHROPOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH – NOT ON OUT-DATED MARKET RESEARCH
The knowledge has to be integrated in the idea way before the greater research on philosophy and sociology is done.
THE POWER OF ART TO HELP BRANDS UNDERSTAND THE LUFE OF ITS CLIENTS, DEVELOP THE POWER OF ATTRACTION AND TRANSCEND TIME
Apart from everything else, art is crucial for marketing and business world for the next reasons - understanding trends and social conditions, power to transcend time and ability to differentiate.
‘SLOW TIME’, THE TIME THAT BRINGS INSPIRATION, QUALITY, APPRECIATION AND PERFECTION
We live in a fast world, but we NEED slow time to build inspiration and develop an idea. Learning, researching, reading, investing time into quality – it all requires time and there’s no way to get around that.
BLENDING, MIXING AN COMBINING: INFLUENCES, CULTURES, GEOGRAPHIES, AND TIMES
Knowing and finding things is all about mix of information, knowledge, experiences and processes. The ability to combine things that come from different times and cultures is a way to be continuously developing the creativity and ideas.
THE PHYSICALITY OF EXPERIENCES
Real objects, real people, real events, real feelings… this is what creates real lasting memories, emotions and impact.
ULTIMATE CREATIVITY IS ACHIEVED THROUGH THE LOSS OF ONE’S EGO
Strong creativity is about forgetting you egoistic ideas… strong creativity is generous. If someone stills your idea or copies you – who cares? If you are creative, you will always create more and better, you will always develop further personally and professionally. Furthermore, creative work is mostly a team work, which is always challenging, but will let you achieve way more than you would ever be able to achieve on your own.
To finish his presentation and sum up the discussed above, Vadim quoted Tai Te Cheng:
‘A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants. A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is’.