Remember Six Sigma? Kaizen? Many marketers don’t.

In Part One we hypothesized about a careless inattention to change which resulted in demographic crossfire with the BMW Mini campaign billboard. In Part Two we identified the need for frameworks that bring order to inevitable changes.

Six Sigma was a perfection-oriented manufacturing framework developed by Motorola in the 1980s. You may remember it more as popularized by the indomitable Jack Welch at GE.

Similarly, I was first introduced to Kaizen (Japanese for continual improvement) while working corporate communications for the client ServiceMaster in the early 90s at Highgate Cross. Toyota manufacturing had popularized the concept of Kaizen, and ServiceMaster was innovating the idea of continuous improvement more relationally into service management while infusing it nicely with their own brand of servant leadership a la Ken Blanchard, Max DuPree and Peter Drucker.

As we’ve bumbled from the industrial age into the information age, the things we marketers should have learned from Six Sigma and Kaizen are valuable points of reference. These frameworks and others like them introduced to organizations an infrastructure by which ordered change could be initiated and/or adapted to productively.

Very simply, they established a canon by which change could be benchmarked, calibrated, dialed-in and bracketed.

I long for the day when the marketing communications industry can have their own household-name process-improvement frameworks like Six Sigma and Kaizen.

Until then, here’s a few proven frameworks that I use to promote endurability.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Developed by Harvard Business gurus W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy is a business development and marketing framework that “creates uncontested market space and makes competition irrelevant.”

Includes strategy canvas, value curve, four actions framework, six paths, buyer experience cycle, buyer utility map, and blue ocean idea index.

VALCORT Strategic Analysis and Design

Developed by my friend and branding colleague Chuck Thomas, VALCORT is a secret (not really) acronym describing a comprehensive framework that decodes every aspect of an organization’s growth capability.

Includes in-depth enterprise discovery and institutional brand planning in three phases – Phase One (Inside-out),  Phase Two (Outside-in), and Phase Three (Strategy, planning and implementation roadmap).


It doesn’t have a spiffy acronym, but at Notionfront our clients’ stories and designs get delivered through a framework of six essential new-media and marketing disciplines.

Includes Frameworks, Image, Strategy, Content, Channels and Metrics.

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