The world is 3-D.
Our eyes are specially adapted to focus on a point that exists where our mind directs. So why are most of our business models two dimensional?\
The Cartesian Coordinate system has three axes: X, Y and Z.
The Z-axis is overlooked most of the time. The most frequently seen business graphs use the X and Y axes in an L shape with time on one dimension and money on the other. The next step up is to set up a graph with the X and Y axes crossing at a center point. Suddenly one can put ranges from bottom to top on one and left to right on the other. This sort of graph is particularly good at comparative outcomes.
The whole story
You can’t tell the whole story with just two axes. That is why often there is slew of graphs in a business presentation. And you’re asked to assemble the data in your mind to get the whole picture.
I was intrigued with this problem in the days before I started my Consulting practice. (That’s why my corporation is Z-axis Marketing, Inc.) I believe we restrict ourselves to essentially two-dimensional thinking because of the tools that were available. Pen and paper do not lend themselves to 3-D visualization. Yes, it can be done but it takes the ability of an artist to really be convincing and plotting data is not easy.
The trust factor
Then, too, how do you decide what three factors really tell the story of a business? In my view you need to show the interaction between:
Time (in most cases months and years but days and weeks can prove useful)
Money (the primary measure of any business– can be stated as income, revenue, profit etc.)
Trust (the single factor that can make or break any organization in my view)
Trust is best demonstrated by situations such as the Tylenol poisoning recall. The share of market dropped to 8% when cyanide was found in product on the shelf. They recalled all products, developed tamperproof packaging and returned to the market recapturing their 35% share of market.
In my experience, Trust is the predicator of success or failure for all independent professionals. I have been comparing the citations of Trust in testimonials and reviews versus the pricing and estimated income for consultants and coaches for the last 15 years and seen the proof of the saying:
People do business with individuals and companies they know, like and trust.
And Brand is an expression of that trust.
So why don’t we have programs on every business desktop to give us 3-D graphing capability?
We don’t have sufficient data points. Scientists gather data on every variable they can find. Often, they are drowning in data. Businesses don’t. If it isn’t part of the accounting package it is given short shrift.
That is because the Z-axis is best used to show how a social factor impacts the bottom line. Acquiring the data in the time required is considered “expensive and not part of the essential data needed.”
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher, Brand Poobah is a sought-after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, as well as founder of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and Business Development on and off-line.