Think Short


Think Short is an essential tool for marketers dealing with FoMO driven consumers.

One of the implications of FoMO is the demise of customer loyalty as we have known it, relied upon it, and capitalized upon it in the past. Consumers have become addicted to having options available to them.

Author Salman Rushdie wrote about some of the things he missed when he was in hiding: “You can’t go into a shop expecting to buy a certain item, and then spot the item next to it, and see that is what you really wanted. The pleasure, you see, had been in the choosing.”

Consumers now live very changeful lives in almost every aspect of their existence. They are accustomed to change and to incessant newness. There is an unprecedented consumer readiness and willingness to try new products and brands that erode brand loyalty.

Realistically speaking, we already live in the Post-Customer-Loyalty Era. Consumers have simply become serial adopters of innovations.

However, since innovation is now so widespread and such a major competitive weapon, marketers must master methods for creating Short-Term Brands and market hits in practically all product and service categories.

Longing for the long term

Meanwhile, conventional ‘think long’ marketing and branding, still has customer loyalty as its holy grail. The prevailing fantasy is still ‘Customers for Life’ and an ‘everlasting’ market success like the ones Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and IBM used to enjoy in the good old days.

But those days are gone (ask Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and IBM). Companies succeed nowadays by turning on consumers time after time with innovative products (right, Apple?)

Consequently, conventional marketing and branding, its approach, concepts, vocabulary and tools, no longer equip marketers to deal with today’s and tomorrow’s markets and consumers.

While certain aspects of management, branding and marketing require long term thinking, it’s time to think short as well because it makes better business sense to do so.

Resourceful marketers have already begun shifting their focus to the short term, however until recently without a guiding theory and an appropriate method. No wonder marketing innovations fail as often as they do.

Think Short – Strategically

The Think Short methodology provides specialized tools for creating, launching and managing diverse innovative ‘marketables’ (products, services, projects, retail concepts, entertainment venues, etc’), specified to penetrate the market rapidly and become sweeping successes in terms of sales, revenues and profits.

The Think Short methodology includes innovative concepts, models, work processes and methods for devising competitive strategy moves, developing new concepts and products, go to market plans and branding.

At the core of the method is a new type of brands: Short-Term Brands (STB). Short-Term Brands are planned to gain fast momentum, inspire enthusiasm among their target audiences and lead to high demand, active participation and/or support, according to their respective nature.

Conventional long-term brands are desired if they are trustworthy. Short-Term Brands are desired when they are exciting.

Take for (an admittedly unobvious) example, president Obama when he was running for the nomination of the Democratic Party. Senator Clinton was already running a presidential campaign, i.e., attempting to build a long term brand. She was trying to inspire trust. Conversely, Senator Obama was spreading enthusiasm, taking advantage of the benefits of short term branding (in the short term enthusiasm often wins over trust).

The Obama campaign’s promise was thrilling: you have a one-time opportunity to impact history by electing the first African-American Presidential nominee (“Yes We Can”, remember?) It was only after he won the nomination, that voters began to give increasingly more weight to the potentially long-term “President Obama” brand.

Then his campaign masters moved on to the next challenge: handling the transition from short-term brand “Candidate Obama” to long-term brand “President Obama”.

How does it work?

The field of product and service innovation normally focuses its attention almost exclusively on the innovative product or service. Our analysis of tens of cases of successful innovation indicates that this approch is misleading. Successful innovations are congruent systems consisting of four crucial elements which co-create the intended result and must all be of the appropriate kind:

I. product
II. timing
III. branding
IV. marketing.

The Think Short methodology helps create such systems and addresses all four factors. I call this approach: Systemic Successful Innovation.

Short Term Brands

A new understanding of opportunities

The prevalent metaphor for opportunity in conventional marketing is a void waiting to be filled.

The Think Short paradigm sees opportunities in situations which can be used as a ‘raw material’ for creation, for innovation. To clarify this new perspective let’s look at simple example.

An Australian toy designer has created a surprise hit with a doll of Bernard Madoff which went on display at the New York Toy Fair in February ’09. The Smash-Me Bernie figurine wore a devil’s red suit, carried a trident and came with a golden hammer for smashing the doll into pieces.

Not surprisingly, Smash-me Bernie attracted worldwide media interest without spending a dime on advertising. The doll is manufactured by Mini-Me ModelWorks. The initial price of Smash-me Bernie was close to $100. It then went up to $150 when demand became huge. As of this writing, it is being sold online for about $40 at

This new understanding of opportunity leads to a new conceptualization of “market potential”. Conventional Think Long marketing and branding refer to “market potential” as something already existing out there (“How many consumers are willing to buy the product?”)

Think Short conceives it more dynamically as something not yet in existence which nevertheless can be created (“how many consumers can we enthuse with this product & brand concept?”) This perspective usually reveals a much larger group which is the real potential, provided it is handled expertly.

While conventional Think Long branding views the process of brand creation as erecting a building, floor after floor, Think Short sees the launch of STB’s as starting a fire in a field of dry brush.

Interested in Think Short?

Would you like to invite Dr. Dan Herman to speak on Think Short at your organization’s event? Would you like to organize a Think Short training workshop?

Dr. Herman’s keynotes and other lectures as well as his training workshops are adapted to the concerns and interests of the specific audience and to the requirements of the organizers.
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