Wanted: Change Leaders

“On the road of life, there are passengers and there are drivers. Drivers wanted.” This popular Volkswagen marketing campaign, which ran from 1995 to 2006, helped boost VW’s sales 18% between 1995 and 1996. Wanted, Christopher Reed Consulting

The man behind the popular “drivers wanted” campaign was Alan Pafenbach, a creative marking director who has launched successful media campaigns for Volkswagen, McDonalds, Smirnoff Vodka, and Yahoo. Pafenbach’s campaign successfully engaged and reconnected VW customers with the thrill of the driving experience.
Pafenbach and his team knew a thing or two about activating engagement among consumers.

The drivers wanted campaign created a new identity around driving that resonated, empowered, and activated customer engagement with the VW brand. This identity was defined by knowing the rules of the road. Appreciating the autonomous experience of driving, and not taking that freedom for granted. But more importantly, the drivers wanted campaign illustrates the power of identification, of creating desire, and of enabling people to take action.

Change leaders are drivers too. They have the guts and courage to say the things that are difficult to say in service of evoking belief and creating desire.

Few leaders have the courage, guts, and skills to do this well. Anyone can start a fire and create a burning platform, but it takes tact, conviction, and skill to drive change from the head AND the heart. It means having conversations that matter. It means boldly facing uncertainty. And it means being the calm in the storm.

The rewards are many for those who can, and the pitfalls are self-evident for those who can’t. On the road to organizational change, as on the road of life, change drivers are in high demand. What are you doing to prepare for the journey?


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