I’m no expert on American politics, but I’ll be interested to see if a US president is re-elected this week, and given a few more years to try to carry through his plans.
One way of looking at such a result is to see it as a vote for long termism, and maybe, just maybe the idea of big things taking time to achieve, and being stronger for the time taken to achieve them.
When it comes to marketing and communications we are still seduced by the promise of quick wins and tales of short term campaigns, with little reference to how (or even if) they fulfil any long-term goals. Measures of success tend to be campaign-specific, and strategy decisions are frequently made in response to short term results.
Belief in the long term requires accepting the idea that in the short term there may be failures, while still trusting in long term success. The crucial word here is ‘trusting’ – for most of us, especially during a downturn, the future is uncertain, so belief in a long term strategy requires faith.
I can think of quite a few good reasons to work at the long term, for example:
- People want long term relationships (nothing worse than feeling loved for five minutes – usually until chivvied into buying/doing something – then forgotten about)
- Long term relationships are more likely to survive mistakes – if people love you, they will be more forgiving
- Long term relationships are what loyalty, trust and advocacy are built on – the key to business survival
- Consistency over the long term can mean the power to transcend fashion, fickleness and generational differences. (I often quote Nike as an example on this blog, and in this they are still leaders.)
I’d love to hear of examples of businesses or organisations trusting in the long-term and resisting knee-jerk reactions to failed campaigns or short-term strategies – do you know of any?
(Image credit: Strategic Service Management)