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Wednesday, November 1

Do You Zoom?

Seth Godin may not be the most profound of writers on marketing in the classical sense, but he gets a hang of marketing 2.0 just like Russel Davies gets to the pulse of Planning 2.0.

In his book, Survival is Not Enough, he talks of Zooming and I feel the community of planners can learn a lot from the art of zooming!

Zooming as Godin defines is about stretching one's limits without threatening one's foundation. It's about handling new ideas, new opportunities and new challenges without triggering the change-avoidance reflex!

Some useful points I gathered on Zooming are as follows. It's not very organised. More of a ramble...

1. Zooming is not the same as evolving. You need to zoom before you can evolve.
We have all grown up mostly on the premise that brands only grow incrementally. Therefore, many FMCG brands become endlessly better. 'New Improved' every year but the evolutionary change is so slow that it never delights. But brand managers, agency and planners are fearful of a stretch improvement. Or in software terms a 10X improvement.

2. Many a time work happens in an agency in response to a crisis. However, zooming is not something you do in response to a crisis. Zooming is about constant change, change for no particular reason, with no particular goal. You fix it when it ain't broke!

3. New thoughts come in new locations. By changing the boring predictability of everyday routines. Maybe by trying a new restaurant/ cuisine that we have never tried before.
By reading a magazine one has never read before. I picked up Business 2.0 three months back and believe me I find it among the most new age magazines that I know of(although that might not be a good benchmark:-)

Once a week, meet someone from outside your industry, the set of client industries that you handle. Again, my good friend Arjun, introduced me to a forum called http://www.mobilemonday.net/mm/. A single meeting enlightened me more than most secondary information on the mobile industry ever did!

4. In Planning 2.0 - it pays sometimes to shoot first and then aim. Or zoom first and ask questions later. Why are we so fascinated with the idea of permanence. Brand charters, fixed rules, formats, templates. Like Google, many brands could benefit a lot by being in permanent beta mode. Like video games, gaming, cell-phones...
Always trying to be better, consistently unpredictable, surprising!

5. Zooming will not make us more efficient or more productive. If practiced well, it will lead to dramatic improvements. Zooming isn't worried about making today's machine better. it's worried about building tomorrow's machine!
As Seth says - "You can't shrink your way to greatness".

I personally think the planning community needs to zoom a lot to chart the future course of our discipline. There are about 10 odd agencies worth working for. One can incrementally increase our salaries and designations by changing jobs. But one will have to zoom to have a School of Thought of one's own! To create a domain of expertise. To attempt framing the new rules of Communication 2.0!

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