Random Neologisms (#1)

On-line, off-line? Below the line? Above the line? Through the line? Who really cares? One of these 'lines' is a tele...

June 26, 2003

On-line, off-line? Below the line? Above the line? Through the line? Who really cares?

One of these ‘lines’ is a telephone cable; the other is a spurious and outdated convention invented by accountant-marketeers.

The only line that really matters is the one your brand oversteps, just before you lose a customer, an employee or an investor.

For every brand and every stakeholder there is a line in the sand which each traverses at his peril. As the tide of sentiment ebbs and flows, these lines are drawn afresh each day. Sometimes the lines are clear and deep, more often they are wavy and ephemeral. But when promises get broken, expectations shattered or commitments abused – hindsight tells us just how important they are. Brand relationships can break irreparably.

The only sustainable marketing approach is to agree on the the definition of these demarcations with all stakeholders, and to dig them wide and deep together.

This isn’t just another plea for PR campaigns that support the advertising; or DM campaigns that don’t cannibalise customer relationships, or adverts that look prosaic, but actually motivate sales. All of these things are important.

In-line marketing is a plea for decentric thinking. Only be understanding the perspectives of all stakeholders and finding ways to bind these groups together in mutually reinforcing communities, can brands hope to build a sustainable future.

In-line with customer needs, In-line with changing values, In-line with business goals, In-line with capabilities, In-line with their common purpose.

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