Push The EnvelopeJune 7, 2011
While Tom Wolfe didn't originate the term, he seems to have made it famous with the publication of his book about the space program - The Right Stuff, in 1979. Tom used the term in its technical and engineering context, given the phrase was first used in the field of mathematics.
In aviation and aeronautics the term 'flight envelope' has been in use since WWII; that envelope is the description of the upper and lower limits of the various factors that it is safe to fly at, i.e. speed, engine power, maneuverability, wind speed, altitude etc. By 'pushing the envelope', i.e. testing those limits, test pilots were able to determine just how far it was safe to go.
How often do we as test pilot marketers push the envelope? Do we know the limits for our brands, how far we can safely push them?
Brands like airplanes have different capabilities - some are very agile, able to maneuver like a fighter plane. Others like bombers are unable to change speed or course quickly; but then bombers were built for a different mission than a fighter.
How flexible and agile is your brand? Have you pushed its envelope, do you know who far it can go past it current limits; maybe it's time you start pushing like a test pilot does with a new plane to see how capable your brand or brands are before they get into a dog fight.
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