John Glenn Moments

This Monday, February 20, will mark 50 years since John Glenn’s remarkable adventure around the earth three times.  Before this trip, no American had spent more than a few minutes in space.  A nation’s spirit was immediately revived and we had a whole new set of possibilities.  A mere seven years later, we landed on the moon.

Contrast this with the big news this morning that Nik Wallenda finally got permission to tightrope over the Niagara Falls this summer.  Pause for a second and think about these  two stories.  Where are we pushing the edges?  Where are we taking chances?  What are our priorities?

In so many ways pharmaceutical marketers need role models.  The industry needs big thinking to solve big problems.  We need dreamers!  It is important to think about Glenn’s mission and contrast it with the “Craziness at the Falls.”  Glenn took great risk but it was well thought out, carefully analyzed, planned to the second and most importantly there was a big reward tied to the risk.  Although, there was only one person up in space there was a big team that made the mission a success and an entire nation rooting for a win.

Doing the same thing time after time does not usually change the trajectory of growth.  In fact didn’t someone say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity?  Every brand team should have 2 or 3 monster ideas or experiments they are working on that could really shake up their markets.  These should be discussed with leadership and fully recognized as long shots that, if successful, could significantly prove worth the risk.

Too often big ideas are rejected because there is not confidence in those presenting them.  It is critical that marketers build up their ideas and design them like Glenn’s space shot.  Every variable needs to be considered, especially legal and regulatory issues.  The dream, of what success would mean, needs to be clearly illuminated so the  risk looks worthwhile. Bold ideas need to be sold and who better to do that than those put in place to champion the brands/assets of the organization.

Are your big ideas viewed as tightrope walks or space shots?

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