'Humbition' with Norman de Greve

'Humbition' with de Greve

The latest NY Under the Spotlight was a stimulating evening of lively conversation between CVS Health’s Norman de Greve and Siegel & Gale’s Margaret Molloy. Recounting his Leadership journey, Norm brought to life some important lessons in being brave whilst balancing the challenges of staying relevant and driving growth.

Read on for a selection of top tips based on Norm’s journey.

Context is king!
Brave acts are most likely to succeed when values align. Norm described the importance of working in a culture that aligned with his beliefs and the power of the CVS culture of ‘Humbition’ (humble ambition), characterized by:

  1. No egos
  2. Never sitting still
  3. Shared accountability

Stay close to consumers and don’t judge
Maintaining consumer connection and relevance is critical to driving growth. The challenge is to identify their needs and pain points and maintain emotional connection.

Be brave with purpose – not just for the sake of it

“Profitable and purposeful – that’s the magic…”

Being a ‘custodian’ of a purpose driven brand is about articulating a purpose that sets a customer drive growth strategy. CVS’s removal of tobacco is a great example of a move that:

  1. Tapped into a human truth - everyone has a story of someone effected by tobacco: “we give people more days together with people they love”
  2. Resolved the tension of a health company selling products that kill
  3. Unlocked new permissions to repositioning as a Healthcare company via integration with Aetna

Stake a stance but keep it real
When 80% of beauty ads make people feel worse and models don’t feel beautiful enough, something is wrong. In the words of one model, “I just want to look like I look on my best day.” CVS Beauty Mark took the bold move of standing for real life beauty by stopping photoshopping or stating when images are digitally altered.

Look forward not back:
“What you do tomorrow is more important than what you did today.” We all have bad days but the one thing we can’t change is the past so don’t waste time dwelling on it! The key is to refocus on tomorrow: “What would have to be true to make this work?”

The Future is NOW!
In Norm’s words, “We are at a crossroads. It could be the most challenging time or the biggest opportunity.” Personally, I think it’s all in the framing and never has it been a more exciting time for Marketing. Brands have more influence than ever and companies are increasingly taking a political stance and standing up for something. It’s a fine line and that’s where both judgement and bravery come in. As Marketeers we have an amazing opportunity to guide, inspire and ultimately positively impact the lives of so many. There’s no time like the present.

Review by Sarah Davies, Founder, The Behavioural Architects


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