I HATE FEAR.

I was close to putting an exclamation mark at the end of that title. Fear is my most hated emotion. It cripples us, paralyzes rational thought, destroys intelligence and kills creativity.

Why? Too many brands today fight change and ideas new ideas because of fear. How many times have you heard that a brand can’t try that idea or strategy because they are afraid. Fear means risk and in my mind the opposite of risk is obsolescence.

Most brands today would rather slowly become obsolete, un-interesting and dead then to take one little risk. The arguments don’t add up or make sense. Arguments such as, we can’t expose our brand, or, that is untested territory without predictable ROI are bullshit.

Every article you read with a CMO or other senior marketing title in it says that they are looking for their agencies to be “more creative”, “more innovative” or to “find new ways to break through”, but I do not see to many giving agencies permission. Obviously as a marketer you need to, and want to seem open to ideas but very few actually bless ideas. How can original thoughts see the light of day if there is no pre-existing model to base the ROI on? How can a risky position or a unique articulation of the value proposition become reality if everyone is full of fear?

Here is my wish. 80% was considered honours in school, so lets continue to see 80% as a successful grade. If all brands invested 80% in work they were comfortable with, that didn’t scare them; then invested 20% in the “risky adventures” I believe that the following year they would be looking to invest 30%. If every movie Disney put out was about a lonely princess/woman/peasant that was eventually saved/loved/found by a strapping young lad we would all get bored and more importantly 101 Dalmatians would have never been made.

Risk in the world of marketing and advertising generally means drawing a line in the sand and standing for something more that a one size fits all message. It usually means deciding who you believe your brand speaks to, and how you want to speak to them. These decisions can be scary because they potentially mean failure. Especially in today’s market this is a tough call to make but as far as advertising goes…

It is better to say something to someone then to say nothing to everyone.

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