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Martin
Lindstrom

Leading expert on business, brand, and culture transformation.

Data doesn’t create meaning - we do.
Profile

Martin Lindstrom is recognized as one of the world’s leading business, branding, and culture transformation experts. His cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology and his New York Times-bestselling books are reshaping how organizations approach innovation, culture, and business transformation.

Previous experience

Accolades: Lindstrom is one of the foremost business minds of our day. TIME magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and for the last six years, Thinkers50 has listed him among the world’s top business thinkers. His remarkable case studies are based on his extensive work for a Who’s Who of companies. In his popular presentations, Lindstrom shares (among many other topics) what it takes to transform commodity-driven organizations into thriving entrepreneurial businesses.

Author:Lindstrom’s numerous New York Times-bestselling books include Buyology and Brand Sense. His latest title, Small Data, describes the tiny clues that uncover big trends and explores how deep consumer insight can make or break an organization. His books have been translated into 48 languages and have sold more than a million copies worldwide. He has delivered keynote addresses to Google, the World Business Forum, KraftHeinz, Disney, Amazon, LEGO, and the World Economic Forum. Lindstrom is a co-producer and the host of NBC’s popular Mainstreet Makeover, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, and a frequent contributor to Fast Company.

Media
Expertise
Talking Points

CULTURE: Leadership, Innovation, and the Surprising Truth of Human Motivation

Strategy eats culture for breakfast. Companies have never been so overwhelmed with emails, reports, data, statistics, and endless PowerPoint presentations, while at the same time preaching the importance of culture. Notice any conflicts?
Lindstrom takes his audience on a deep, remarkable dive inside some of the world’s largest organizations and their daily challenges as they rediscover, build, and maintain powerful cultures.
What happened when Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, was paralyzed by a two-month global cyber attack? When Lowes Foods faced two choices: to completely change their business model or to close down the entire retail chain? Or when Standard Chartered, the world’s 10th largest bank, realized that “common sense” had completely vanished from the behavior of their 86,000 staff members, leading to overly complex service offerings and immense customer frustration?
In each of these cases, culture became the savior.
As the spearhead of these and many more remarkable culture transformation projects worldwide, Martin Lindstrom takes the audience behind the scenes and shares what it takes to bring culture front and center in organizations that had been paralyzed by bureaucracy, compliance, and inefficacy.
Viewing bureaucracy as a disease, the Lindstrom team rebuilt the purpose of the organizations, reinvigorated and empowered the staff, and, most importantly, systematically removed the red tape that was killing entrepreneurship and productivity. In one organization, Lindstrom and his team banned PowerPoint presentations. In another, they entirely removed the CC function from Outlook. Meetings were limited to maximum four participants, and smart phones were banned. In one case, he even introduced a special division called The Ministry of Common Sense. And in every case, it worked!
In just two years, Maersk recovered and added an additional 43% to their global brand value. Lowes became the most innovative retailer in the U.S., and Standard Chartered nearly doubled their share price.
YOU WILL LEARN:
- What it takes to create a powerful culture, reverse poor staff morale, and attract top talent.
- Common sense initiatives (low-hanging fruit) that can, within weeks, infuse hope in an organization, boost morale, and improve productivity.
- The step-by-step roadmap to transform a bureaucratic organization into a powerful culture.
- The classic pitfalls and misunderstandings that jeopardize 9 out of 10 culture projects - and how to systematically avoid them.

BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION: The Disruptor’s Agenda: Unleashing the Innovators

Fourteen years ago, everyone’s favorite toy company was near bankruptcy - but then something remarkable happened, elevating LEGO to become the world’s most powerful brand* … seemingly overnight.
With Amazon and Walmart’s relentless attack on the conventional retail industry, Lowes knew they had a two-year deadline to survive. Fast-forward four years, and customers were lining up to enter Lowes stores.
Around the globe, conventional postal service organizations are considered to be dinosaurs. There’s only one exception: Switzerland. Why was Swiss Post, in contrast to the rest of the world, the first to adopt drones and self-driving cars, placing their services way ahead of Amazon and Uber?
Over two decades, Lindstrom and his team have challenged companies from almost every industry - toys, retail, postal services, shipping, banking, food, beverage, pharma, automobile, fashion - to rediscover their core and transform themselves. Lindstrom always starts with the customer, but what follows consistently breaks the rules of conventional thinking. His unusual method proves itself resilient within even the most stubborn organizations.

In this presentation, packed with behind-the-scenes, first-hand observations from some of the most remarkable business transformations in the world, Lindstrom introduces a ready-to-use framework, suggests simple and memorable metaphors, and merges it all into a captivating narrative. He will have the audience on the edge of their seats, leaving them eager to transform their own businesses. As Lindstrom says: Sixty-five per cent of the jobs today’s 12-year-old will do when he’s grown don’t exist today. So, why would yours, unless you change … right now?

YOU WILL LEARN:
- Why most MBA textbooks are misguided about transformation, and what a true (and much more dynamic) alternative looks like.
- How to reinfuse hope into an organization that began, decades ago, to lose its nerve, nimbleness, and entrepreneurial spirit.
- How to ensure that great conceptual thinking and big ideas don’t drown in politics, bureaucracy, compliance - with a lot of talk but no action.
- How to balance the short term (going from red to black) and the long term (the big idea, versus a compromise of a compromise) without losing the interest of the board, senior management, and investors.
* According to Brand Finance, London 2019 study

CUSTOMER JOURNEY: Creating a Next-Gen Customer Journey Experience

Two years ago, we all shook our heads as a doctor was dragged out of a United Airlines plane, leading to the company’s biggest PR disaster in its 92-year history.
But is that any different from what’s going on in your organization? What would happen if you became an undercover employee in your own organization, experiencing what your customers experience every day?
In this eye-opening presentation, Lindstrom goes underground with his audience. He shares first-hand recordings of disastrous customer interactions - and, yes, surprised managers and CEO’s who thought everything was perfect. This highly thought-provoking presentation is packed with videos and case studies, placing a revealing mirror in front of the audience. It will make them think, reflect, and, most important, act.
What makes Lindstrom’s presentation unique is that it’s hands-on, based on his personal experience designing, implementing, and monitoring some of the world’s most successful customer journeys, including the Walt Disney theme parks, Swiss International Airlines, Burger King, Maersk, and Dorchester Collection, the operator of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Bel-Air Hotel, and many other luxury properties around the world.
What these and numerous other cases all have in common isn’t huge budgets. Instead, they share clever, innovative thinking, often requiring only a couple thousand dollars of investment to create happy customers and million-dollar returns.
This remarkable, highly entertaining presentation is guaranteed to change your view of customer journeys, demonstrating that a small effort can yield a big difference.

YOU WILL LEARN:
- The optimal, highly cost-effective way to design a unique customer journey.
- The pitfalls few think about but which, if avoided, can save your organization millions.
- The small, yet highly strategic, steps you should take first in order to immediately generate results, build momentum, and save money.
- Best practices from completely unrelated industries, and what you should learn from their innovate ways of handling customer experiences.

FUTURE RETAIL: Until Amazon creates a drone that can cut your hair, there’s a physical, real reason to visit the barbershop.

We’re witnessing the biggest retail war in living history, with more than 4,000 store closures in the United States alone during 2018. Is eCommerce the only answer? Surprisingly, Lindstrom’s answer is No - and he backs up his claim with solid evidence and provocative cases, time after time proving that while the whole world sees only one direction, there are multiple alternative paths leading to amazing opportunities and results.
Based on exhaustive global consumer research conducted in more than 70 countries, for more than a decade Lindstrom and his team have investigated the wants of today’s and tomorrow’s consumers. They’ve investigated how retail is likely to evolve and, most important, what it takes to turn a red bottom line to black as a conventional and eCommerce player.
Lindstrom knows his game. He was the mastermind behind Lowes’ remarkable transformation, turning a struggling business into the most innovative retailer in the United States. He helped the world’s second-largest supermarket chain, Carrefour, beat Amazon and introduce a flurry of successful eCommerce concepts worldwide. In his speech, Lindstrom will share how to identify undiscovered consumer needs and translate them into unconventional retail solutions few would ever have thought possible.
What makes this presentation unique is the price tag of Lindstrom’s solutions - they are hands-on, concrete, inspiring, and highly cost effective. Consider his introduction of a groundbreaking multi-state “mini-makeover” competition inspired by American Idol. This format resulted in a double-digit improvement of the bottom line for one major retailer, yet only cost a few thousand dollars per store.
The presentation explores every dimension of retail, offline and online. It explores opportunities spinning out of consumer observations made in homes, and it takes a deep dive inside Amazon’s servers. The biggest in the world, they contain shocking consumer data and are already able to predict your next car, pet, or house purchase - without your knowledge. You’ll learn how Alexa’s secret “Voice Sniffing Technology” is able to listen in on any conversation and interrupt your conversation with relevant commercial messages. You’ll hear how AmazonGo, the conglomerate’s retail store, may soon adjust the prices live on the shelves according to who you are and how many people follow you.
Expect an express journey into tomorrow’s retail universe. This inspirational, provocative, hands-on presentation will help any company elevate its presence into the next league of retail.
YOU WILL LEARN:
- To identify “low hanging fruit” that can have an immediate bottom-line impact and create the momentum needed to revise a negative spiral trend.
- The latest retail trends from around the world, which will inspire you, provoke you, and strengthen your strategy.
- What it will take to turn around your stores - and the roadmap that will get you there.
- How to identify and steer around the pitfalls and unexpected obstacles that cause nine out of ten retail transformations to fail.

BIG DATA: And Why the Next BIG Thing Will Be All About Small Data.

LIKE IT OR NOT, businesses are drifting away from the consumer. In the last year, only 1 in 3,000 executives has spent time with their consumers. Instead of keeping in touch with consumers, leaders rely on BIG Data - reports, databases, and statistics - in order to understand the emotions of our most important asset. The only problem with this approach: They’re all looking at the past in order to predict the future.
Emerging in its place is a new approach, Small Data, which Lindstrom defines as seemingly insignificant consumer observations that completely transform the way businesses are built and run.
In 2004, the LEGO Company was near bankruptcy. Big Data had informed the executives that, due to the lengthy construction time, kids no longer had interest in playing with LEGO. In response, LEGO introduced larger modules, which cut the building time in half. However, the result didn’t mirror their expectations. Sales plummeted, and as a result the company decided to cease all conventional Big Data-based sources - and instead introduce Small Data.
It was a visit to an 11-year-old German boy’s home that profoundly changed the LEGO Group’s view of the world. A LEGO executive asked the kid what he was most proud of. It wasn’t a Nintendo or PlayStation, but a pair of old, worn-out sneakers. The reason why? Because, as the kid explained, the sneakers’ very particular worn-down angle on the side of the sole proved he was the #1 skateboarder in town. You see, when pro skateboarders slide down the board, their shoes get worn down exactly like this 11-year-old boy’s shoes.
This insight taught LEGO that if a kid is willing to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours fine-tuning an angle on a shoe, why wouldn’t a kid spend thousands of hours playing with LEGO? They reintroduced the small bricks, created the LEGO movie, and formed alliances with Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Batman.
LEGO had lost contact with its core consumers, yet by adopting Small Data, the link between the consumer and the iconic toy company was recovered - making LEGO the most admired brand in the world, according to Brand Finance 2019.
Lindstrom will share the remarkable insight behind LEGO’s success, and he will discuss how Small Data has been instrumental in the turnaround success of numerous other companies around the world, in shipping, banking, retail, fashion, and food and beverage.
YOU WILL LEARN:
- Why most Big Data strategies have been shown to be fundamentally flawed, resulting in billions of wasted time and cost.
- Why some of the world’s largest companies now swear by Small Data when identifying their next billion-dollar bet (and how their success rate is an astounding 81% above average).
- How combining Big Data with Small Data has been shown to establish a remarkable competitive edge, while saving millions of dollars.
- How it is possible to adopt a Small Data approach right away, in a highly cost-effective manner, generating tangible results within a matter of months.
Topics

Business

  • Culture
  • Mastering Leadership

Innovation

  • Creativity
  • Data Science

Politics & Advocacy

  • Leadership
Feedback
We have found Martin Lindstrom very knowledgeable and the content of his presentations are spot on. With his informal way of presenting and his encouragements he got our audience to be very interactive. NOKIA
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