Johan Cruyff was a dutch footballer, winner of the Ballon d’Or 3 times and was regarded as the poster boy of a footballing philosophy known as ‘Total Football’. After a playing career that took him from Ajax to Barcelona to the States and back to Holland again he finally stopped playing in 1984.
He then ignored his feet and turned his hand, to coaching.
It was as a coach that he made his biggest contribution to the global love of football.
Between 1988 and 1996, whilst coaching Barcelona Johan Cruyff put the roots down and developed a style of play that is now known as Tiqui-taca, pronounced tiki-taka. With this footballing philosophy, possession is key and every channel and player on the pitch is used.
This quiet revolution was used by subsequent coaches and was fundamental in creating one of the most successful club teams in the modern era. Tiqui-taca was then taken on by the Spanish national team and in just 4 years it made them, one of the most successful international teams in the modern era.
The key to it’s continuing success, and the difference to say the success Argentina enjoyed during the 80s through Diego Maradonna, is the system is built on every player being involved, if one player is injured or out of form then another (albeit brilliant) footballer can come in with minimum fuss.
Putting the team first brings more success to the individual.
Or as Xavi, one of the finest footballers living today, beautifully said…
‘Without my team mates my football means nothing.’
We think that sums up the way we work perfectly.
That doesn’t mean ‘everything is decided by committee’.
What it means is collectively our work is better, stronger. Collectively our work means something… actually it means more than that.
As an agency our work means everything.
It means that even before our clients see our work it has already had the advantage of exposure. Which means everything has been questioned and evaluated.
Like Tiqui-taca, if the agency is set up where everyone attacks the problems of our clients from different angles we should start to create a myriad of thoughts and ideas. We think of this as the geometry of opportunity.
That means we create and understand frameworks in which we can thrive.
One of our firmest beliefs is everybody or should we say anybody can have an idea. Having ideas isn’t difficult. Judging, evaluating and executing ideas though take a whole set of skills and experience that could fill an agency. In our case it does.
The agency has been set-up in a much more fluid way. Every player can be used.
As I mentioned earlier there are frameworks. These frameworks have been created to help everybody thrive in the process of creating great work. Including our clients and suppliers.
If getting to away games includes driving through the Alps, then nobody wants to shut their eyes as they leave home and wake up at their destination.
That’s why we include our clients every step of the way. If they are only included in the original briefing and then the final presentation, they miss out on the journey and we miss out on their experience.
It all comes down to ownership. This way everyone feels a part of it and the campaign in question doesn’t feel like a foster child.
At Pepper we’re all charged with doing ‘Whatever it takes’. This ethos is carried through from developing strategies, writing briefs, answering briefs and delivering answers.
Delivery shares equal billing with strategy and creativity.
The time when teams are at their most vulnerable is just after they’ve scored. There’s no point in celebrating great ideas if no one is focused on defending them to the final whistle.
There’s nothing worse than spending weeks and months of late nights, spilling blood all over the strategy and creativity to literally get a bloody nose from a mistake delivering the work. Brilliant work can get written off just as quickly as lousy work, so we always treat every part of the game with the same respect.
Again, that takes different people to ensure the work always exceeds our high expectations.
Sometimes we have to step backwards a little to leap forwards a lot.
We’re not ashamed of that, running headlong into a cul de sac is a waste of time and energy. Johan Cruyff understood this.
The aim is to score great goals beautifully. The same goes for our work too.
That’s not a style over content thing, they should work hand in hand.
As Buckminster Fuller, a non footballer said ‘When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty… but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.’