Creativity – Daniel Flynn from Thank You Water

Almost a year ago I Brought Daniel Flynn’s book Chapter One, the story of Thank You Water to date.

The notion that a small band of university students would ditch their studies and launch a national water brand and go on to sell a range of food, cosmetics and baby care products to Coles and Woolworths – is crazy. For anyone that has been or seen their contacts scarper to get any product into a nation wide FMCG market for years and years, launching a product range in WEEKS, not months or years, is the stuff of legend.

As a Not For Profit giving 100% of their profits to charity Thank You Water are committed to their WHY. Daniel, in a time of doubt received a sign, as he flipped through his bible it opened to a page of giving water to those in need. Since that day he’s doubled down on his WHY. 

Together with weekly consulting sessions by his mentor, a billionaire responsible for global creative projects Daniel’s been able to inspire his team to greatness.

Today I heard again Daniel discuss their amazing journey from $1000 seed capital across the three founders to over $5 million dollars of impact to their causes.

Beyond a powerful social impact cause being the backbone of Thank You Water, the second powerhouse to their success has been creativity.

The team’s creativity and their stoic belief that this will work have been the keys to their success.

Here are some of the highlights I took form Daniel’s story around creativity.

Think creatively around funding

The team had $1000 of seed capital and the initial RFP requests had the market suggesting an initial run of their product could cost between $200k and $400k.

Good, they thought.

They went to EVERY supplier until one bucked the norm and agreed to supply their goods in advance.

Think creatively around path to market

Most products start out in farmers markets, growing slowly, bit by bit.  They decided that the best way to do things, was to do the opposite. Go large, hit the mid sized retailers first. Sadly, without patents or protection of their ideas, two declined the offer to work with them and promptly created their own charity water brands.

Daniel’s thought was – “Good, is this such a bad thing?” They got creative for their biggest targets Coles and Woolworths. Being agile and learning from the last attempts they went big publicly with their intent.

The massive news coverage ensured that Coles or Woolworths couldn’t run with their own brands and ultimately led to both brands taking on their food range as well as their water.

They had a full product range hit the shelves in record times (weeks) and their products hit spots one and two across Australia.

Get creative with pricing

Thank You water was building through the network of contacts the founders were building. They knew that this would be the engine for them to expand, not just through sales deals with these lead retailers.

Daniel always jokes that bottled water is a silly product that people pay silly money for. With that idea in mind and after some deep reflection Daniel wrote a book called Chapter One – priced using a Pay what you want model.

They managed to convince the Airports in New Zealand and Auckland to stock their book on a month by month basis through the power of their social media networks and the PR they promised would ensue. It did. The book sold out in the first weeks in many locations. It was the top of the business category and to date has had prices ranging from 15 cents to $5000 a copy.

The book has raised $1.7 million dollars and counting, selling in Australia and NZ airports in a year and has funded the launch of their baby care products and explorations into New Zealand. In the airport bookshops it was second only to Harry Potter launch week and the book store directors gave them the annual innovation award for their product launch.

Get creative with leadership

One of Daniel’s final points was to get your ideas out there. Too often we hide our ideas until we feel they’re worth sharing. He suggested, or maybe this is my interpretation, that we underestimate the value of the efforts our team members, colleagues and connections can make in nurturing our ideas and bringing them to fruition.

“Bring it to the market, to the community and get it heard.” Sharing your idea will create LEVERAGE – the more people that know your journey and the ideas you have, the more they can bind to your WHY and generate momentum.

He’s certainly got me thinking around creativity and challenging what we consider to be unmovable paths, truths or conventions…


 

I highly recommend you order his book Chapter One, it challenges conventions from the first page. Literally,  it opens vertically.

 

 

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