Bravery is quite the buzzword in marketing and advertising these days. People talk about being brave and fearless, but the reality is that bravery goes hand in hand with fear. To be brave actually means to step out into something, to take a risk, in spite of fear… not to take a risk with an absence of fear. If there’s no fear involved, is the step you’re taking really a risk? Probably not. Ergo, it’s probably not all that brave either. What are you afraid of?
The truth is that ideas that are creative, distinctive, and yes, brave… they are almost always the best ideas. But many brands are afraid to take the plunge and try something that involves risk. Instead, they cower down and go the “safe” route, resulting in campaigns that are bland, boring, and flat.
Don't Be Boring
In a recent study of over 6,000 advertising campaigns, it was shown the biggest differentiator in the level of success was correlated to the level of bravery involved in the campaign. That means that brands that didn’t go big… essentially went home. Womp, womp, womp.
The brands that opted to step out of their comfort zone, forgoing campaigns that were obvious and asinine, were rewarded for their efforts. They were “brave” because they felt a certain level of fear and riskiness yet took a leap anyway.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you should be careless in your risk-taking. Your risk versus reward should always be carefully calculated. But stepping outside of your comfort zone can only benefit your brand and your business.
What Can We Learn from This?
Bravery is not about some adrenaline rush or making a splash for the sake of the splash. It’s about doing something creative and risky for your brand, despite discomfort or fear. There’s an old quote that says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” That’s courage. That’s bravery.
Brave and courageous ideas are by nature uncomfortable. They make us squirm. Neophobia is an actual thing. We as a species aren’t naturally hardwired for bravery, we are hardwired for comfort. When faced with something that triggers fear and discomfort, we react with the age-old “fight or flight” mechanism, and more often than not, fight wins out. We fear the unknown and thus, avoid the risk.
This rings especially true when you are not intentional about fostering a sense of boldness and creative bravery in your business and your brand. Going the conservative route might be okay, at least for a time. But to keep up with the changing markets today, and to captivate the attention spans of the new generation, being conservative in your marketing efforts will often net you subpar results.
Why even waste your time, when you could knock it out of the park simply by choosing to move forward, despite your fears? Look for the avenue that’s new and different. Look for ways to be creative in your marketing campaigns.
Don’t just be an echo of every brand around you, be a trailblazer forging ahead with your own unique voice and style. Be the brand other brands want to echo. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it comes with risks. But if you’re not willing to take risks, you probably shouldn’t be in business in the first place. Choose boldness. Choose creativity. Choose bravery. Anything less and you’re not even the competition anymore.