Short term vs long term thinking

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A tweet has a lifespan of 3 hours. The average time we spend looking at short stories on Instagram is 32 minutes (each story is 10 second, so at that time, we might watch 192 stories). No doubt this affects our attention span; mine certainly has. If you are old enough to remember life without mobiles, I used to spend 2 hours reading a book, and now I might read 6 pages when the book is really grabbing. Ok, age is also a factor, but I do get distracted a lot. Does it happen to you?

When I look at the world today, I see that we seek quick results. We don’t have the patience for a long term solution, and we want it now. We spend our lives patching to keep going forward infinitely. It happens a lot when I try to design, most business owners don’t think long term, but now. What they like now, what they need now, and they end up with a wishy-washy brand that is lacking strength.

Stop for a second

During the lockdowns (season 1, 2 and 3), I had to drop, like most people, the frantic rhythm of our lives. I had time to think, and I had time to develop my business, which has been postponed and patched many times. I should know better as a creative, brand designer, strategic thinker… I spend my days working on projects that are designed to last, long term thinking.

Branding is, or should be designed to last. You can’t change your brand every time a new trend come out, because branding is about consistency and perseverance. I building an image to your potential customer. Every-time you change it (by using a different font or colours) you water it down.

Short term thinking

Politics today are short term thinking. All the solutions found are to survive another term or another crisis. Today’s governments are like a Politic-Netflix, the solution here and now, regardless of wasting valuable time. But it is not in politics. It is everywhere. Fashion is the most obvious one or tech too. Products designed to be desirable and have a short life. Ok, Capitalism. I call it short term thinking. And it is unsustainable, not only environmentally but as in difficult to keep going, because it’s like a carrot on a stick, we’ll keep running to get it, but at some point, we’ll run out of interest, energy… It is happening now.

Short term branding is very much exhausting you are constantly patching, as if you here trying to stop the water of a holed bucket and holes kept appearing. Might be a short term strategy to survive for the long term strategy. But you have to let some water go while your focus goes into the long term.

Long term thinking

Long term thinking is strategic. You sit down at a table and map out things. You learn and understand what needs to be done. You look at the long term effects. It is planning with a telescope, looking at what is coming. Much needed today, when you set up a new business, you have to foresee that the environment and climate emergency is not nice to have. In a more pragmatical way, how you make sure that the journey is fulfilling for your customer.

Long term thinking is setting up a road map for your brand, a place to refer where the start and the end are. The the purpuse of your effortd.

Conclusion

Short term thinking is a surviving method. And it is dangerous because when the Titanic was sinking, many passengers left behind other lives to save their own. The long term allows us to put enough lifesaving boats, iceberg sensors, and a plan for every scenario.