Courageous Marketing: An Antidote to Uncertain Times

courageous marketing
courageous marketing

You see it in the headlines—a recession is looming.

Everywhere, executives are planning for dark days ahead. Many businesspeople tend to think the “smart” thing to do is to hunker down and wait for the uncertainty to pass.

But here’s the thing—there’s more uncertainty behind the coming uncertainty. We are always swimming in uncertainty.

To willingly and intentionally do nothing is to disregard the purpose of a business, which is to grow. Crazy fact: More than half of the companies in the Fortune 500 in the year 2000 no longer exist—a clear indication that conditions are always changing and that a company that stands still will be passed by.

52% of the fortune 500 firms since 2000 are gone

Image Source: BeLegendary.org

For us marketers, this should set off alarm bells. We have chosen a career in which our raison d’etre is getting people to notice and trust our company.

That means these uncertain days are not the time to duck our heads and do nothing. This is the time to stand tall and act with courage. We need to move boldly ahead with messaging that resonates, tactics that separate us from the pack and a willingness to realize we can’t be all things to all people. It’s time to stand for something so you become known for something.

Let’s embrace courageous marketing

Marketing with courage requires a willingness to stick your neck out. Any brand you admire surely embraced risk in its marketing somewhere along the way. Marketing is a business discipline intended to hit grand slams, so we can’t be afraid to swing for the fences.

Courageous marketing is rooted in Why You Exist. It takes a stand it believes in, knowing competitors—and maybe even some customers—will disagree with the stand.

Courageous marketing doesn’t follow what everyone else is doing. It doesn’t get bogged down in industry best practices. It is messaging that is unique, powerful and brave. It is bold, but not reckless. It isn’t angry, but it is defiant. It requires an acknowledgment that you’re not going to make everyone happy.

Courageous marketing is having a differentiated message and sharing it in a unique way.

A process for courageous marketing

It’s one thing to say, “let’s be courageous.” That doesn’t make it automatically happen. It helps to put a structure around it to make the act of being courageous in our work more tangible.

There are four pillars of courageous marketing: Knowledge, Confidence, Action, Evolution.

You have to know your organization, and you need to have an understanding of the marketplace. This requires experience and education.

Building up your confidence muscle is vitally important—when you embrace courageous marketing, slings and arrows are sure to come your way from both inside and outside your organization. When the going gets tough, you have to have faith that your position is correct. The best way to do this is to collect as much information as you can ahead of time, and to vet your initiative internally with leaders who can either back you up or take you down. You need to position yourself to credibly say, “I hear you, but I’m right about this.”

Now it’s time to build and launch your initiative. Creating this new approach to marketing will take some time—you might need to put new processes in place, hire for new positions, uncover new skills and spend a ton of time brainstorming and creating. You also need to think about how this gets launched into the world … and then launch it.

The fourth pillar is Evolution. We know that we never get something 100 percent correct the first time we try it. We need to adapt and continually innovate so that our courageous efforts stay fresh. But we also need to be wary of not overreacting and overcorrecting. This can be a difficult balance to find, but if you’ve built up your confidence, you should be positioned to stay the course.

Is a recession coming? Maybe. Will there be other tumult in the world? Definitely.

Should we hide until the trouble passes? Only if you want to endanger your business and your livelihood.

See more at scribewise.com/courage.

John Miller

John Miller is the Founder of Scribewise. He blogs frequently on content marketing trends, the need for brands to build an audience, and general marketing topics. Email him at [email protected].