Just yesterday morning we were having a discussion of terrorism marketing on these pages; some readers think it may have been a stretch connect the attention-seeking of suicide victims and terrorist, but I doubt it.

But, just so we’re clear, there are a couple of key points to reiterate:  One is that all products, movements, and much of what you think is controlled by well-described psychological reactions that are understood and used by media experts.  The single-best quick read is  Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind that explains a ton of how messaging works.

If you’re in a hurry,, simply read the CNN headline on how “Syria’s al-Nusra rebrands and cuts ties with al Qaeda.”

Not that the fine jujitsu of branding lives solely in terrorist groups;  Did you notice the phrasing of “Bill Clinton tries to Rebrand Hillary, for example?

One of the classic concepts of positioning is that a “brand” encapsulates a product…any product.  The closer the correlation between the positioning statement and product name, the higher the recall.  Which is why a positioning concept and name being the same makes a product more easily recalled. 

Black Lives Matter is a “hot” brand right now and what makes it so interesting to observe – from a brand-marketing perspective – is that it poses some difficult decisions for brand managers.

Ure blowing smoke?  No, never.  Check out “The agency argument for brands to embrace #blacklivesmatter” for some enlightening discussion.

In a short description – and think of this as the second level of our overarching Everything’s a Business Model paradigm, it is axiomatic that Everything is a Marketing Plan in order to support the Business Model.

When I look you in the eye and assert the primacy of the American “monetize everything” disaster, it’s one of two core flaws in runaway capitalism taken over by the mob.  The other, of course, is that capitalism is too efficient.  It requires continuous growth because absent that, we roll into periodic long wave economic depressions which serve the function of synthetic growth.

Where we live in these “interesting times” is at the outer margin of these two systemically limiting equations:  We will have a collapse (or a large recession) in Spring 2017 or (if the Fed can manage it) fall 2017.  But recede we must since we’ve begun to run out of clever things to monetize.  Not the least of which are LBGT and black lives – both social issues.

Monetization never stops, either.  The democrats massive importation of people through other than strictly legal immigration channels is another monetization/cheap economic stimulus – for the very short term – effort.

You see? 

America is a Business Model.  Or, more accurately, an orchestrated, semi self-organizing cacophony of  competing models (owned by special interests) that government attempts to modulate for the larger national model’s direction.

Unwilling to monetize massive infrastructure or energy consumption models, we instead have been focused on social issues…and the unimaginative demos are re-running that marketing program that began with the neighbor organizer from Chicago.  He, it must be recalled, cut his teeth (consciously or otherwise) on the carbon exchange business model in ‘99, or so.

Even now, he has learnt a great deal about “balancing the models” – because there are many and they do compete – which is why we can not totally leave Smackghanistan. Yes, drugs-crime-corporate prisons, well, it’s just another model, don’t you know.

So is ISIS, Al-Nusra, and even Hillary or Trump.

The most informed person is one who can read the morning news not purely at face (“My, ain’t that interesting…”) value.  But also from a marketing plan perspective because when marketing plans (in support of Everything’s a Business Model) become clear, forecasting “next events” is not particularly difficult.

You simply project the marketing plan – anticipating collisions with other, competing models – and presto!

The future clarifies a bit and understand of life ain’t so difficult, at all.

Tragedy in San Diego

One police officer was shot and killed, another in hospital in dire condition from a traffic stop in San Diego overnight.

This follows the Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings and we suspect it may be related to the gang call to kill cops, but that’s supposition on my part.  We await data…

Trump’s Job Just Got Easier

Americans for Tax Reform is out with a list of Hillary tax plans.  Some highlighted include ending many tax breaks, a 25% national gun tax, and higher payroll taxes according to the group.

Employment Costs Up

Our hot off the server press release du jour:

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.6 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in June 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.6 percent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.5 percent. (See chart 1 and tables A, 1, 2, and 3.)

Civilian Workers
Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.3 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2016. In June 2015, compensation costs increased 2.0 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.5 percent for the current 12-month period, and increased 2.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2015. Benefit costs increased 2.0 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2016. In June 2015, the increase was 1.8 percent. (See chart 2 and tables A, 4, 8, and 12.)

Private Industry Workers Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.4 percent over the year, higher than the June 2015 increase of 1.9 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.6 percent for the current 12-month period. In June 2015, the increase was 2.2 percent.

The increase in the cost of benefits was 1.7 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2016, and in June 2015 the increase was 1.4 percent.

Here’s the part I found interesting:

State and Local Government Workers Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.3 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2016. In June 2015, the increase was 2.2 percent. Wages and salaries increased 1.7 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2016. In June 2015, the increase was 1.9 percent. Benefit costs increased 3.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2016, a higher rate than in the prior year when the increase was 2.7 percent.

West Texas crude was under $41 this morning, and the Dow futures were down about 40 points.

Not exactly thrilling trading conditions but we are mindful of “Be careful what you wish for…”

Word from the Future
Coping: Another Periodic Trip Report