Choose to be Courageous.

David Mullen

It happens every day. Brands and agencies spend a lot of time and resources and money developing work that has little-to-no impact in the market or on their business.

Most of the time, it’s their own fault.

Sure, no one from the client or the agency sat around in the kickoff saying “Let’s create something that does absolutely nothing!” But they may as well have.

Too many brand marketers are terrified of the type of work that actually makes an impact. They’re worried about diverting from the status quo, coloring outside the lines, upsetting their bosses. Because, really, they’re worried about losing their jobs. So they kill ideas that make them uncomfortable. Or they pick one and then rub off all the edges and parts that made it special until they’re left with an idea that makes them feel safe.

Their agencies allow it to happen because they’re terrified, too. They’re worried about upsetting the client, straining the relationship or losing the account. Because, really, they’re worried about losing their jobs, too.

So, they arrive at another campaign that makes everyone feel safe and comfortable. They put it out in the world. No one notices or cares. And, therein lies the real irony. After a couple years of safe, status quo marketing that makes little impact because of their underlying fear of losing their jobs, the brand marketer loses the promotion or his job, and the account gets put into review and the agency loses the client.

The world we live in now requires ideas that pierce through consumer indifference. Ideas that earn attention and action. Ideas that make you feel uneasy the first time they’re presented in a creative review. Ideas that, frankly, take some courage.

When we’re talking with potential clients about the possibility of working together, one of the most important things we work to assess is their courage to do work that will actually deliver the impact they desire for their business. We say “yes” to clients who have the courage to challenge the status quo and create meaningful ideas. We say “no” to clients who want safe, comfortable ideas.

Your fiercest, most unrelenting competitor is consumer indifference. Defeating it requires courageous clients and courageous agency partners.

Choose to be courageous.