Zoe Scaman post an article titled From Frameworks To Flywheels:  Weaving brand and business back together, to drive new momentum, magic and monetisation (November 22, 2020).

« Ever-increasing disconnection within organisations between the domains of business and brand is leading to decreasing effectiveness across the board, because the two key component parts aren’t working in tandem, or even in some cases, in the same reality.

Meanwhile, the rapid pace of cultural and technological change is butting up against brand and communications practices that haven’t evolved for a decade or more, focusing on static and structured processes, rather than dynamic and organic approaches. »

« The way we build brands and the way we develop businesses has remained mostly static and stagnant. Think about it – a brand onion, a brand pyramid or a brand key, a business canvas, a four box or a ‘growth matrix’ – they’re all static, immovable frameworks… So, what’s the solution? »

« The traditional way of building a business and a brand can be (overly) simplified to the following linear process: Product > Brand > Audience »

« But the acceleration of the creator economy due in part to Covid-19, but due more so to the rise of new infrastructure (Patreon, OnlyFans, Tiktok x Teespring, Shopify, Substack etc) that allows them to nurture and grow their communities, develop their brand, create products and monetise their audience accordingly, has upended this model and it’s instead becoming… Audience > Brand > Product »

« But, the difference here isn’t only that the model is reversed, it’s that it’s also no longer linear, it’s looped.  What these creators are building is what’s known as a flywheel.  »

« One of the first and most comprehensive examples of a flywheel was actually drawn up by Walt Disney back in 1957. It acted as a visual representation of how each of the different components of the business and the brand would coexist and complement one another and how IP (which was and is Disney’s gold dust) would spin out from the centre (theatrical films) to influence and drive every other facet of the business. They called it the ‘Synergy Map’  »

« In recent times, one of the most successful companies to use the flywheel concept has been Amazon, they called it ‘The Virtuous Cycle’. »

« Each effort creates influence and momentum, that directly drives the adjacent component, and so the flywheel spins – getting faster and faster, bigger and bigger. »

« Why are we still using static onions, pyramids, 4 boxes, matrices and keys, when we could be focusing on the dynamism of the flywheel? »

« Why are we still operating in ever more niche departments, with ever more pigeonholed methodologies, producing increasingly disjointed outputs…? »

« From silos to ecosystems. How can we use the flywheel to open up conversations with adjacent departments or teams, to find opportunities to work together, to combine resources, to move towards overlapping and joint success? … The flywheel is very much a team sport. »

« How can we… start to see everything as a set of overlapping, looping cycles, each building on the next… Each effort should build momentum across the board and each subsequent initiative should build on top of that, and so on. »

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Two years afterZoe Scaman’s article, McKinsey published an article titled  A better way to build a brand: The community flywheel  (September 28, 2022).

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