beyond the dashboard planners

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Just reading an article suggesting that nearly everyone in China uses mobile devices to pay at retail. If it’s in China, it’s going to be in the US and Europe soon-ish.  Marketers in R&D mode may want to start planning and productizing around ways to keep lost and stolen phones from becoming debit tsunamis. When a phone is cash, the bad guys are going to figure out how to take advantage.

Clothing companies will need to make more secure and better fitting pockets. Software cos. will need better sign-on security and/or visual ID programs.  Luggage and/or millinery manufacturers will want to think about phone holsters and such — ways to secure our devices that are fashionable.

Whatever the winning solution looks like, it will be a bah-billion dollar business. Initially at least.       

Beyond the dashboard planners reap higher rewards.



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Conde Nast just announced its intention to sell its Fairchild Fashion Media to Penske Media for a $100M so it can focus on its core brands. References to core brands and core business is what you hear from companies under financial pressure or companies with slowed growth. There was a lot of talk about core during the recession. The opposite is growth into new tangential businesses. It is what really profitable companies do. Growth companies are looking for that next big business thing. They are investing in futures. Finding places to write down taxes. Google’s self-driving cars, energy initiatives and hardware escapades are non-core.

Brand planners love the core. It helps them see what a company does really, really well. It helps them articulate and cluster competencies. It allows the planner to plumb the depths of consumer resonance. Understanding the core is important groundwork for beyond the dashboard planners. Those who do planning that is future-based. Before Steve Jobs and team came up with the iPod and iPhone, they had to understand the core. Then translate it into futures.

There are rearview mirror planners, sideview mirror planners, dashboard planners and beyond the dashboard planners. The best are a combination of all 4 — but focus beyond the dash. Peace. 


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At the end of the day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (now poorly named) has gone up, journalists and pundits are quick to say why.  Good earnings reports. Better unemployment numbers.  And when the Dow is down, there too, is always an explanation. Concerns about interest rates.  Poor weather in the spring.  This seems revisionist theory. Once the day is over someone decides what historical event made it so.  If the weather was reported like this, we’d skewer that profession less.

Two Approached to Planning
There are two approaches to brand planning: forecasting and reporting.  In my brand planning practice I often talk about rearview mirror planners and side view mirror planners. I’ve even begun to talk about dashboard planners. All three classifications operate in reporting mode. But it is the “beyond the dashboard planner” that I enjoy and choose to learn from. Those who see and look into the future.  Be you one?  It’s scary. You may pizzle yourself if big money is involved.  The best planners are about the future.  They are not bound to repeat the future. They are create it.

A lot of ad agencies like to talk about culture.  Creating culture. Many people in the business scoff that the notion. Not me. I’m all up in it. It’s daring, exciting and fulfilling.  Creating a selling and buying culture is more than infusing new language into the lexicon. Where’s the beef? It goes deeper than that. That’s where anthropology meets brand planning. Where the past informs the future.


PS. Is Weiner becoming more of a weiner or is it me?

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