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Home | Boats and Helicopters 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009




From time to time managers will inquire where we came-up with “Boats & Helicopters” and what does it mean. Well, here’s a refresher!


Here’s a story that may be applicable to the way we go about building “brands” and “creating brand loyalty.” Perhaps, you are familiar with and/or can use it.


Joe, an octogenarian of strong faith, was tested when a river close to his home became flooded. As the river began to spill, neighbors in a rowboat called out to Joe to join them in their evacuation to safety. Joe declined saying, “I have faith in the Lord and the Lord will save me.”


As the flood swelled Joe found refuge on the second floor of his home. A Coast Guard boat cruised by offering him a second chance to evacuate. Again, Joe declined saying, “I have faith in the Lord and the Lord will save me.”


A few hours later the inexorable rise of the raging river forced Joe to seek shelter on the roof of his home. A Coast Guard helicopter patrolling to pick-up stragglers sights Joe. A crewman offers Joe an airlift to escape to safety before the river crests. Joe stubbornly refuses saying, “I have faith in the Lord and the Lord will save me.”


Well, the river crests and Joe drowns. Finding himself at the proverbial pearly gates, Joe is stunned to think that despite his great faith the Lord has abandoned him to the devastating flood. But the Lord patiently responds “What do you mean Joe? I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”


In the course of our careers, and days, we are sent many boats and helicopters that could prove valuable in stimulating new thinking – the kind that can help us create brand loyalty for our products and services. With each article of DISPATCHES™ we send you our version of “boats and helicopters.” The “helicopters” fly above the ground and refer to strategic issues. “Boats” skim the surface and accordingly deal with specific positioning plank issues.


We aren’t attempting to tell you “what” to think with these “boats and helicopters.” Instead, we are merely offering you ways regarding “how” to think so you might leverage your experiences and creativity to fit your unique situation. Afterall, “how” one thinks could provide the strategic advantage in this “age of sameness” where products, services and people tend to be similar.


The “boats and helicopters” come, in part, from our book CREATING BRAND LOYALTY – The Management of Power Positioning and Really Great Advertising, which is available through They also come from our highly successful Strategic Positioning & Ad College seminars, and consulting practice, with leading companies and, even, the business press.


Boats? Helicopters? We don’t claim they will save you but they can help you build strong, competitive brands and create brand loyalty.




Let’s hear from you. Please let us know what subjects you would like to see us cover in future DISPATCHES™.


Richard Czerniawski & Mike Maloney

Richard Czerniawski

430 Abbotsford Road

Kenilworth, Illinois 60043

tel 847.256.8820 fax 847.256.8847

reply to Richard: or



Mike Maloney

1506 West 13th

Austin, Texas 78703

tel 512.236.0971 fax 512.236.0972

reply to Mike: or

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