If you’re not familiar with James Curleigh, here’s a bit of background taken directly from the Levi Strauss website:
– James Curleigh joined Levi Strauss & Co. in July 2012 to serve as President of the Levi’s ® brand, responsible for managing the strategic direction and execution of the brand
– Along with his team, James is focused on building on the brand’s strong heritage by identifying innovative ways to connect with consumers around the world
– James is passionate about building brands and leading exceptional teams, and he has translated this to a track record of consistently strong results throughout his career
– All in all, he possesses over 20 years of experience building and expanding consumer brands around the globe
In summary: he knows what he’s doing.
Since joining Levi Strauss & Co. in 2012, James has lead the company under a new vision to help revitalize the brand. One that takes the company to its roots and sees it as a startup rather than the 143 year old seasoned institution that we’ve come to know.
In fact, that’s exactly how Levi’s ® started. It was the first startup in the San Francisco Bay area, where it remains to this day, surrounded by hundreds of emerging Silicon Valley startups. Being in a community of the most promising up-and-coming companies and feeding off that energy is exactly what James wants, and what he believes many companies further in their growth stages need.
He shared some advice with Saud and a small group of global leaders and entrepreneurs on how more established businesses can reclaim some of that startup momentum, breakthrough the complacency that comes with getting comfortable, and exponentially increase their growth.
Here are his top 5 key takeaways:
- If you want to grow you have to think of your customers as human
- For Levi’s ® they looked at where jeans are most commonly kept, so rather than pursuing greater shares of the jean market, James and his team wanted to focus on getting a greater share of a customer’s closet space and focused on expanding the Levi’s ® offering
2. Find your own culture
- The Levi’s ® brand has always been synonymous with culture
- At Woodstock 97% of people wore Levi’s ®; and the other 3%? Probably nothing!
- The San Francisco 49ers of the NFL play in what is now known as the Levi’s Stadium (something that was executed after James came to Levi Strauss)
- Put your product in the center of culture
- Go all in on any job you do, regardless if it’s temporary or uninteresting
- There’s a lesson to be learned in any situation or position – make the most of it
- For example, when James and his family moved to San Francisco, they went so far as to abandon the sports teams they were loyal to in the past and went all in on the San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Golden State Warriors and the San Jose Sharks – that’s dedication!
4. Be a force
- The formula for Force = Mass x Acceleration
- If you apply that formula to your business, you’ll realize that standing still is actually moving you backwards
- Act like a startup and stay hungry to fight the status quo
- Articulate a vision and share it across the company
- You want everyone in your company to be believe in your vision and mean it
- James has a palpable evangelism when espousing the Levi’s ® brand. Hearing him speak makes you want to go home, burn all of your clothes and buy everything from Levi’s ® – belts, jeans, shoes, and even their underwear!
James’ advice rings true for many entrepreneurs, regardless of experience and years in business. It speaks to the drive and ambition we carry in ourselves that pushes us to reach our own definition of success. James reminds us to stay hungry and fight to reach our goals while staying connected with the people around us.
At PolicyMedical we constantly strive to do better and to make a difference for our clients, in our offices, in our communities, and around the globe. Hopefully we can inspire others – with the help of some expert guides such as James – to do the same.