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Salmon Theory

🍣 The third school of strategy we don't talk about

Published 27 days ago • 1 min read

Here's a career question for those of you who work with social media.

Are you a social strategy director, or a strategy director with social muscle?

There’s a big difference. It will determine the course of your career.

To understand this, we need to think about complex adaptive systems.

Consider this idea by Stuart Brand:

“Fast learns, slow remembers. Fast proposes, slow disposes. Fast is discontinuous, slow is continuous. Fast and small instructs slow and big by accrued innovation and by occasional revolution. Slow and big controls small and fast by constraint and constancy. Fast gets our attention, slow has the power.”

This dynamic suggests there are two major schools of strategy:

  • The school of mastery
  • The school of momentum

The school of mastery cares about unity. Consistency. Five year plans. An ongoing creative mandate.

The school of momentum cares about mobility. Freshness. Five week plans. An ongoing cultural experiment.

Mastery says “things don’t change”. Momentum responds “except when they do”.

Mastery is McDonald’s continuing to build equity around the arches. Momentum is their social presence being more sitcom than selling.

So which school is right for you? Mastery? Or momentum?

There's a third option: the school of mischief. You know the fundamentals, in order to twist and play with them.

You play for attention (momentum), while ensuring you get it for the right reasons (mastery).

Those who navigate this will have a fruitful decade in the marketing communications industry.

Salmon Theory

By Rob Estreitinho

Short tasty morsels to sharpen your marketing.

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