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halloween_2008_foreclosed.gifLet’s hope not!

Actually, there is a lesson here for us, though, and it deals with environmental forces.

The best laid strategies and the highest hopes can often be dashed by a change in one or more of the forces that constantly impact what we plan to do as strategic planners. Organizations do not exist in a vacuum, but instead in a very dynamic environment. What makes the environment dynamic is the existence of many environmental forces that are constantly in flux. Different authors label them differently, but my favorite has always been the acronym, PEST.

Political/Legal Forces

Economic Forces

Socio-Demographic Forces

Technological Forces.

These are largely beyond our control, but they are exactly what we need to constantly monitor and plan around.

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Chris_W_Rapid_Change_site_pic.jpgOne of my good friends and favorite bloggers, Chris Wilson, is on the verge of making history! Chris has done some remarkable work in the areas of advertising and branding, both on the creative/design and overall strategy sides, and he has collaborated with some of the best and brightest marketing minds in the world.

He believes such collaboration will be the norm in the future, and he’s built a site to help facilitate such interaction. You can check it out at

I encourage you to let Chris know what you think and get involved if you like. You wouldn’t want to miss the revolution!

Design is the #1 determinant of whether a product-service-experience stands out – or does not. – Tom Peters, Re-Imagine

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monty_python.jpgHow did Monty Python’s Flying Circus get its name?

According to a documentary I saw some time ago, and partially confirmed by Wikipedia, the ground-breaking comedy team was sitting around a table just before putting the final touches on their show. One of the cast members threw out the name, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, that made them all laugh, and history was made.

As much as I love, value, and advocate research, I’m also a huge fan of going with your instincts! Sometimes when you have an idea that works, you just know it! You just feel it! And when you feel it strongly enough, your customers will feel it too, and maybe you’ll end up making history!

And in case you’d like to argue… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

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60 Minutes had a good segment on what’s happening in the financial markets. Frankly, one of the things I appreciate about this piece is how Steve Kroft doesn’t reign in his angry dismay as he delivers the story. You can click herefor their October 6th, 2008 broadcast and see for yourself.

I sure don’t understand what’s going on or know what’s going to happen, and it seems like none of the experts interviewed on this video or on CNBC, or anywhere else know either! What I am reminded of is a quote one of my old real estate instructors used to say: “Every generation has to make its own mistakes!” The majority of people don’t seem to learn from history and are thus doomed to repeat it. This one may turn out to be so big that it can’t be repeated!

Every indicator is that it’s gonna be a rough one, and it could be that way for some time. That is NOT to say, though, that well-run organizations can’t survive or even gain significant ground in the coming months and years. If yours is an organization that has practiced healthy growth rather than hyper-growth like we discuss in ECHO Marketing, there may in fact be some opportunities on the horizon for you.

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If we had to pick a category and “label” this campaign, indeed, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the conclusion that the Ford Edsel was a failure. But I am not that crazy about putting things into boxes or assigning definite labels. I think there’s more profit to be derived from looking at everything as a learning opportunity.

The Edsel was a bust from the start as far as how the public turned up its nose at it, so yes, from a marketing standpoint it was a complete and utter flop. The customer IS the answer, and if the customer says “No,” then you can’t get much more straightforward than that.

On the other hand, the Edsel featured several innovations in terms of driver safety, which would be used to improve the designs of later models. From that standpoint, Ford was able to derive significant value from the investment in the Edsel and reinvest that value in future offerings for the marketplace.

Marketers call this “relative product failure.” Relative to the original goal of starting a profitable new product line, it fell short. However, It was not an absolute failure because the investment in its development paid dividends later on for the company. It’s not a bad idea for us to constantly inventory all of our “failures” and see how we can, in, fact, cash in on them. My bet is that you and I could swap quite a few stories about things that we’ve been through either in business or in our personal lives that at first seemed like disasters, and in retrospect became things that we’re grateful for today because they’ve paid off in the long run. And we’re all in it for the long run!

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. – Arthur Ashe

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