The Outsiders – Iris and The Drum

Progress relies on those who refuse to conform to what insiders consider reasonable, time-honoured conventions.

Iris and The Drum are embarking on a 12 month partnership, ‘The Outsiders’, to celebrate the people and companies who challenge the status quo, operate outside of the establishment, do things differently and win.

A year long programme will deliver fresh thinking and experiences to provoke the industry and beyond.

Throughout 2020, The Outsiders theme will be explored at The Drum Arms London, Austin and Cannes which run alongside key industry events such as SXSW and Cannes Lions Festival, on the Drum’s popular TV series ‘The Drum Show’, within the printed magazine, and on thedrum.com via a dedicated content hub.

The Outsiders – an introduction

Belonging. It’s such a basic human need that we rarely, if ever, question it. And yet, inherent in the desire to belong to any group or category is a passive acceptance of, or desire to, conform to its conventions.

That’s why change so rarely comes from within.

Change, instead, is usually created by Outsiders. Those with no interest in belonging, who question orthodoxies and cut through established behaviours in search of better ways.

George Bernard Shaw said it first over a century ago ’Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world: the unreasonable ones persist in trying to adapt the world to themselves. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable.’

Progress relies on those who refuse to conform to what insiders consider reasonable, time-honoured conventions.

Now let’s consider progress in marketing.

Meaningful differentiation is the essence of successful marketing. Great marketers have no wish to belong to anything other than a category of one. But is the same true of the companies that support them?

Most agencies are based on the same model. Behave in the same way. Hire the same kinds of people. Subscribe to the same theories. Celebrate the same work. And, whilst “the same” can be incredibly comfortable, easier to explain and harder to argue with, it’s a far from ideal place from which to create differentiation.

But what if an agency was created to be different? Not just to do advertising but to change the way advertising is done?

The Outsiders programme has been developed with Iris, a creative problem-solving company born out of the tech revolution. A self-imposed exile from Adland Iris has grown, over the last two decades, into one of the most successful agencies in the UK. A global network that works with many of the world’s biggest and bravest brands to create different kinds of solutions in order to propel their businesses forward.

This year, and throughout 2020, The Outsiders will celebrate different thinking and different thinkers, the unseen and often unsung change agents who challenge the status quo, change businesses and categories, and drive industry forward.

Who are they? What motivates them? And why is being an Outsider so important to creating progress?

Let’s find out.

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