# The GOLDEN MEAN of it

The answer in marketing is always the middle ground.

You can call this Bothism but that sounds like embracing two extremes, which is never going to end peacefully

So I’m warming to the concept of the Golden Mean.

In Philosophy, it’s the idea that virtue is found in a moderate and balanced approach.

So the Golden Mean of courage sits between cowardice and recklessness. For confidence, between self-deprecation and arrogance.

In Maths it’s often called the Golden Ratio and is denoted by the Greek letter ‘phi’ with the symbol Φ.

It’s the ratio of a line cut into a long and short segment, where the ratio of the whole line to the long segment is equal to ratio of the long segment to the short segment.

If you want to show off your GCSE maths, you can write this as:

a / b = (a + b) / a

And if you say a is the number Φ and b is 1, then:

Φ = (Φ + 1) / Φ

Sorting this out, you get:

Φ = 1 + 1 / Φ

But what is Φ? You’ll need A-level maths now because Φ is an irrational number. Its value is a function of its value.

This is how you work it out. Start with:

Φ = 1 + 1 / Φ

Multiply both sides by Φ and you get:

Φ squared = Φ + 1

Or:

Φ squared - Φ - 1 = 0

This is called a Quadratic Equation and you can solve it with the Quadratic Formula. Don’t ask me how, you just can.

And if you use that formula the answer comes out as 1.61803… going on forever. But get your calculator and you’ll see 1 + 1 / 1.61803 does indeed equal 1.61803, nearly.

There’s an argument that Φ is the most irrational number of all, because it always slips between simple fractions.

But back in the real world it’s pretty much the ratio of 1.61803 to 1. Or 61.8% to 38.2%.

So it turns out Les Binet and Peter Field were right all along. 60:40 (ish) really is the Golden Mean of brand and performance.

And maybe a 60:40 split is the way to solve all of the other marketing balancing acts too.

Acquisition and retention

Distinctiveness and differentiation

Mental availability and emotional connection

Emotion and reason.

Science and art.

Glass half-full and glass half-empty.

## Comments