I do an awful lot of squawking about rear view mirror brand planning. The rearview mirror is a notion borrowed from Mark Anderson (http://www.tapsns.com/aboutmark.php) a brilliant technology pundit. It refers to that mode of marketing strategy development driven by the past. At its worst, rear view mirror planning results in strategies which mimic successes the past, at its best, it takes learning from the past and synthesizes new ideas or mashes them up.
To a marketing planner, the Holy Grail is seeing in front of the car and around the bend, to take the metaphor a step further. If you can do that and wrap a big branding idea around your product, it will succeed.
But seeing the future is scary. I wonder if the inventors of email and cell phones saw the success these breakthrough technologies would become?
Brand planning requires understanding basic human needs. It’s not Maslow’s theory so much as common sense. At Zude, the social computing platform for which I am marketing director, we know everyone will have a web presence in time. The consumer generated content category is on fire – mainly due to teens, tweens and techies. But if you’ve done the math, you know that the rest of the population is huge. This other segment of the market is underserved yet truly likes to explore, communicate, share and make new acquaintances. They are aching to participate, even if they don’t readily admit it. If we make it easy for them to participate, they will come. That’s the future.