Speed and patience. When these two words stand together, they are a pain in the neck. People rarely know that when used together, they represent an oxymoron. They are contradictory as well as illogical and incompatible, just like a hot ice cream.
This does not apply to a world of business. In business, they make a perfect couple. At least for those who understand it. Marlboro definitely does, wouldn’t you agree? And they understood it from the very beginning. Well, maybe not from the beginning, in the early 1920s, as at that time, the brand represented the female cigarette. It sounds almost unreal considering that when you read “Marlboro”, the picture of a cowboy and red package appear as the first thought. No matter how strange this fact seems, the stranger is that the brand was the 13th in the market share in the middle of the 20th century.
That was the moment of soberness for everyone, even for the owners of Marlboro who then contacted well known Leo Burnett, the guru for marketing, and handed him their brand with a single clear task – to make Marlboro number one. Mister Burnett accepted the job and mentioned that it wouldn’t be easy, and that it took time for the brand to reposition itself.
Everything else is a history. A well known history, except for the meeting that was held by the same people after the campaign had been launched, where they analyzed the market to find that Marlboro was … well guess, still 13th. It hasn’t moved a bit. But the owners just quoted mister Burnett’s sentence, ‘You said you needed time, and we believe you’. That faith, trust and patience, lead them quickly and unmistakably to a position where they are now and where they have been for decades – number one.
It appears that speed and patience really make a perfect couple in business. Actually, patience invested in business can be perceived as speed.