I’ve drawn a lot of cartoons about the tendency of marketers to want to change everything, all at once, and all the time. There’s an old marketing truism that “marketers get tired of their advertising before consumers do.” The same instinct to change for the sake of change goes for every aspect of marketing, from logos to packaging to agencies.
And yet, there’s also a tendency for marketers to get stuck in a rut and follow the same playbook over and over out of habit. This too can apply to every aspect of marketing.
I recently stumbled across a useful framework from HBR author John Coleman that defined strategic leadership as “the ability to hold two specific traits in balance: consistency and agility.”
“If organizational leaders are merely consistent, they risk rigidity. In changing environments, they can struggle to adapt and may cling to old habits and practices until these practices become counter-productive, distracting them from the more important new work that needs to be done…
“But just as consistency can become rigidity, agility can become a lack of focus when it isn’t tempered by consistency…
“It’s in the combination of consistency and agility that leaders become strategic.”
I think the same framework can apply to brands and marketing. It’s in that combination of consistency and agility that marketers become strategic as well.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: