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Marketing Moments | My Lucky Number is 19

Marketing Moments
August 20, 2021 2:00 PM

Sales and Marketing

Marketing content shared with Michigan Business Network by:

Bonnie J. Knutson, PhD

The School of Hospitality Business

Broad College of Business

Michigan State University


My lucky number is 19. My husband and I started dating when we were 19 years old. We were married on the 19th of February. And in my immediate family it is 1 + 9 – one family of nine people. All in all, 19 has always treated me well. It has never helped me win the lottery, however. But hope does spring eternal.

As the calendar approached the 19th of this past month, I started thinking about the number 19 and how it has turn out to be significant for not just me, but everybody. Because just as 9 and 11 are forever linked by what happened in New York City on September 11, 2001, the number 19 will never be able to stand alone; it will always be prefixed by the dreadful word, Covid.

Come to think about it, maybe it was fate that this global pandemic bears the number 19. After all, in numerology, the number 19 represents new beginnings, fresh starts, progress, open doors, breakthroughs, and upward trajectories. It signifies the end of one phase and the beginning of another. It is a sign that we should move on to the next level.i And after everything that has happened this year – medically, economically, culturally, socially, politically --, isn’t that where we are? Isn’t that where our business must be?

History will mark 2020 as a transformational year. Amazon Prime boxes are becoming part of our front porch décor. We learned new cooking skills via webcasts, and we got our workouts online. We tried to help our kids with a math problem that we forgot how to do years ago because they, too, were discovering the virtual world. We “went” to a meeting in our slippers and sweats. We formed love-hate relationships with Zoom and Team Meetings. And we missed the commandries of colleagues at work and friends at restaurants. Slowly but surely, however, businesses are welcoming us back. But as Yogi Berra purportedly said, the future ain’t what it used to be. And, furthermore, it never will be.

We will not return to what we think of as normal or even what we might think of as a new-normal. Instead, it will be a “transformational-normal” in nearly every aspect of our lives. After all, did we ever think that taking our shoes off to go through TSA security before getting on an airplane would become just part of our standard travel ritual after 9/11? Will the next step be temperature checks?

If anyone tells you that they know what our business will be like next year, or in five years, or down farther down the road, they have a better crystal ball than you or I have.

Not long ago, a friend of mine emailed me one of those funny little cartoons that we all spend too time reading and passing on. But then it hit me. Wrapped up in a simple picture and 34 words was the key for our businesses to thrive, not just survive, in what will be our transformational-normal world. The picture was of Radar (Walter) O’Reilly, the fictional character in the M*A*S*H television series. He was called Radar because he seemingly knew what was going to happen before it did. (For those of you too young to remember the series, I urge you to binge watch it when you have the chance.) In the photo, Radar is sitting at his cluttered drab army-issued desk talking on the phone, with the caption under it that says, We need to change who is in charge of this crisis. In one phone call, Radar could’ve had masks, gloves, ventilators, PPE, 12-year-old Scotch, Rocky Road ice cream, and grape Nehi soda.

So the lesson for all of us here is simple. Make sure your radar is always up and working to proactively watch what is going on that can directly or indirectly affect your business – demographically, culturally, economically, technologically, and politically. “In a progressive country change is constant, change is inevitable."ii

Instability can happen anywhere or at any time. If your radar is up 24/7, however, you will have a better chance of detecting the first signs of change, giving you time to protect yourself against threats or take advantage of opportunities that may arise. If your radar is not working properly, or if your management team is not ready, willing, and able to quickly respond to the projected change, your strategic thrust can be in jeopardy. Way back in 2006, two authorities on managing change reminded us that the biggest dangers to a [business] are the ones you do not see coming. Understanding these threats – and anticipating opportunities – requires strong peripheral vision.” In other words, you must be a Radar O’Reilly. These words are even truer today.

Your bottom line will thank you.

i https://numerologynation.com/angel-number-19/ ii Quotation attributed to Benjamin Disraeli.

Marketing Moments, hosted by Dr. Bonnie Knutson. With her wit and entertaining style, Bonnie, a frequent speaker at business and association meetings takes her perspective and brings it to our broadcast platform. She shares decades of knowledge and brand awareness, and gives us all a new lens on marketing for business.

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