Passion Pass to Norway: Why hitchhiking & new business aren’t so different
28th August 2017
Our New Business & Marketing Manager, Tash Cordeaux, uses her M&C Saatchi PR Passion Pass to spend the day hitchhiking around Norway. She discovers that it’s not so dissimilar from the world of New Business…
Travel forces you to step outside of your comfort zone. It encourages you to question and engage with new people and the world around us to find new ways of thinking and doing. This why I used my Passion Pass to go hitchhiking around the Norwegian Fjords for the first time ever. The day entailed everything from hitching a ride from a Russian coach driver in the pouring rain and clambering in the back of an elderly Norwegian woman’s Tesla car, to swapping secret camping spots with Swedish hikers in the Aurland mountains and deciphering our walking route from a (very) basic map whilst also questioning the hard-to-crack locals (whenever we could come by them!).
What did I discover? Hitchhiking and my day to day role had more in common than I thought… hitchhiking is much like the early stages of new business. Cars were brands, and we were an agency, stuck on the roadside trying to win their attention, earn their trust and be invited in, all off appearances alone. It was definitely important that we can off approachable, friendly and a safe bet – no one wants to pick up a dogdey hiker.
All of us in agency world know it’s never pure luck when a brief pulls up in front of you, and just like hitchhiking, new business isn’t really down to luck. The car pulls up and lets you in because you have learnt to: understand the perspective of the prospect (in this case, a car that will not ever stop in the middle of a motorway – so be flexible and meet them where they’re happy to stop and chat); think strategically about your positioning (literally and in a business proposition sense); and present yourself honestly in a way that instills trust and leads to conversations and opportunities which may have otherwise passed you by.
Beyond hitchhiking, parallels cropped up everywhere throughout the day. For example, deciphering roughly recommended routes which had no indication of time and getting locals to elaborate on their instructions was like breaking down a brief from a new prospect. In order to understand where exactly we were going, what the aim was, (and to ensure we didn’t get lost in the mountains), we had to understand and question every detail that locals told us of, whether it was sign posts, where we could get water/food or timings, all in order to ensure we had reached our destination efficiently and pitched up before it got dark.
Ultimately, the M&C Saatchi PR ‘Passion Pass’ is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on and be inspired by the world outside of the office in order to bring back a richer and refreshed approach to your role. I like to think of it as the next evolutionary stage of ‘free ranging’.
Our core agency proposition is Driven by Passion. We empower each of our staff across the world to take 1 day off in the year (excluding holiday allocation) to pursue their personal passions. This allows us to understand what drives our people beyond their CVs, and ultimately ‘passion-map’ everyone to businesses they’re genuinely passionate about working with. For example, in the last six months we’ve seen account managers who attended Europe’s best art exhibitions working on our recent House of Peroni virtual reality experience (see here) as well as a horse riding account executive jumping over to the Deezer team for our April Fools horse stunt (see here).