Brave isn’t just reserved for blockbuster movies and exaggerated stories down the pub. Brave is the everyday stuff, too. At a very basic level, bravery occurs anytime someone pushes themselves outside their comfort zone to do something they truly believe in, despite the obvious risks they face. In the world of marketing, bravery is our lifeblood. Without it we stagnate, rest on our laurels, fail to inspire and – God forbid – become the ultimate marketing sinner: the tick-box marketer.
The social web is enabling brave marketing more than ever. In fact, with fragmentation and increasing marketing channels, we are being pushed to be braver, stronger and better.
Brave comes in many forms. For example, when Transport for London decided to allow its staff to manage its Twitter accounts for the Tube, and update passengers using their own tone of voice, I thought that was pretty brave. Quiet marketing, but brave nevertheless, and I suspect that behind the scenes there must have been a passionate marketer pushing that idea across the line, despite various obstacles thrown in the way by caution.
Behind every brave campaign there is a brave team. So here’s to you guys pushing the brave thing across the line.
We have all been there. You present your brave idea; the room electrifies. Everyone’s going with it. Green light. Go! Go! Go! But just 24 hours later the toning down has already started. In the sober light of day people panic, play out possible negative outcomes and get tied up with the "what ifs". This is when you need to be doubly brave and drive this baby home.
So why is bravery important? Well, put simply, bravery takes us from the status-quo approach to trying things differently. Turning to my area – artists and buzz – I am incredibly proud to be part of the music industry right now, where a recent wave of bravery is achieving serious cut-through and delivering clear benefits to both the consumer and marketer alike. For example, One Direction hosted a seven-hour marathon stream with 1D Day (a brave effort from our Syco team and production company Fulwell 73), De La Soul gave away its entire back catalogue to fans in exchange for an email address and Pharrell launched the world’s first 24-hour video for Happy. Of course, a masterclass of brave was delivered by Beyoncé who launched an album seemingly out of nowhere with absolutely no pre-promotion.
Behind every brave campaign there is a brave team. So here’s to you guys pushing the brave thing across the line, from the polite and subtle to the lairy and headline-grabbing. Hold fast and don’t let the brave thing get diluted. As a fellow brave marketer said to me once: "No one wants to see a streaker wearing pants." She’s right. You really don’t.