Quick and Dirty: Taking Risks in Marketing to Stand Out

You gotta take risks in marketing.

Otherwise, you’re just bland, and bland isn’t going to make anyone remember you, hire you, or buy your product. That doesn’t mean your marketing should be random, or inauthentic. In fact, the best risks are taken seriously and thoughtfully. Good marketing is consistent. Branding should be the same across your advertising platforms and your words, colors, graphics, and logo should all be pointing your target market toward your business. Nike has their swoosh logo on everything, everywhere. They don’t even need to have words for you to think, “Just do it” They leaned hard into the hero archetype and it’s paid off.

So how do you take some authentic marketing risks?

Risk Leaning into Your Brand Archetype

No matter what your brand archetype is, you can push the boundary of that archetype. (If you haven’t heard of a brand archetype yet, check this out.) No matter whether your archetype is the outlaw or the innocent, the mother or the hero, there are ways to take some marketing risks.

First, make sure everything your business does relates to your archetype. Always ask yourself is this bringing it back to the archetype? Don’t be afraid to push that edge. Some archetypes are lower key like the guru and the innocent. Pushing into your archetype probably won’t make people uncomfortable. But if your archetype is the outlaw, hero, jester, or ruler, get ready to run up to the line screaming and tip over it. The goal is to do this without being inappropriate, or gross, and that’s the challenge.

It’s far better to have raving fans and a handful of people who don’t like you. You want to elicit strong reactions. If you’re not making a small percentage of people uncomfortable you did it wrong.

Every archetype has the possibility to lean into it. If you’re the mother, play it to the hilt. Show your caring and warmth whenever possible. If you’re the innocent make sure everything you do looks breezy easy. If you’re the outlaw, break some rules and get things done.

Marketing is Emotional: Risk Sharing Some

Emotions are powerful, and vulnerability is risky. Sharing emotions can seem like the wrong move in business, but creating an emotional response is the key to great marketing. What emotions do you want people to feel? Each archetype succeeds by creating a different emotional response.

Zeedia Media is the Outlaw and everything is about freedom. Imagine the wind in your hair as you power down the interstate on your motorcycle. Imagine the freedom to do what you love to do, knowing that Zeedia Media has your marketing handled. Everything we do should elicit freedom.

You may have a hard time getting it right or figuring out how to bring it back to your archetype. That’s good. You gotta take the leap and the only way to get better at it is to try. If you’re debating between two marketing campaigns pick the one that makes you uncomfortable.

Here’s an example: a restaurant with a jester archetype made a wild, over-the-top video. Within 24 hours they had gotten ten calls from people who were offended. The owner called their marketing people, saying “People are offended! What’s going on?” The thing was, that video got 20,000 views. Only 10 complained. That means only 0.05% of people were offended. When the marketing team asked about how the restaurant was actually doing, it was great. They had been getting lots of reservations and positive feedback. Those 10 people sounded like a big deal, but 99.95% of people loved it. It was well worth the risk of making those 10 people unhappy to make fans of so many others. It’s okay to have people who don’t like your brand, as long as the people who do like your brand can find you.

Be Risky by Asking for Honesty

Not all marketing risks are about the big gestures and social media campaigns. Behind the scenes, ask your clients how they really feel about working with you.

  • What did they like most?
  • What didn’t they like?
  • How could you improve?
  • What was the most difficult part of the process?
  • What was the best part of working with you?
  • Would they recommend you to a friend?

Really ask the hard questions and be ready to listen to the answers. If you hear the same answer over and over you know there’s some room for improvement. Marketing is about connecting with your target market, and that means listening to people.

Take Some Marketing Risks by Looking Outside Your Industry

Find some marketing you like, and then do it better than they’re doing it. The trick is to look at businesses outside your industry. Look for people who have the same kind of messaging and archetype, not the same business. You’re going to get better ideas for great marketing when your emotional messaging matches. At Zeedia Media, when we start making a website, we ask our clients to give us links for sites they like, with the caveat that don’t give sites that are in the same industry. You can get a lot of inspiration and great ideas for marketing campaigns by looking at what other people are doing.

Make sure to keep your brand archetype in mind, especially it’s strengths and weaknesses.

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Let us know what you discover. Which one did you choose? Contact us if you need help deciding.



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