4 Ways Bravery Will Bring Advertising Success

Every business owner fears wasting their advertising budget. The unfortunate thing is, most advertising budgets are wasted as a result of fear. It can be a fear of many different things. Usually fear results in a mundane campaign. It entertains no-one. It intrigues no-one. It offends no-one. It sounds like an ordinary radio commercial, because that’s the way radio commercials are supposed to sound.

Let’s be brave! Success comes to those who take a chance!!!

So, how can you choose to be brave?

  1. Use BIG IDEAS! – There are few things scarier than a big idea. Big ideas are different. They’ve never been used before. They are untested, unproven, and undervalued. A big idea can be the spark that ignites your business. Big ideas are the big “A-ha moments” that come to us so rarely. They stir something inside your heart. You know that it’s a great idea. You know others will respond to it. They’ll be excited to hear/see/feel something so different. We’ve all had these moments of clarity in our lives. Big ideas are most powerful at their purest point; when they are conceived. Unfortunately, fear feeds on creativity. It nibbles away at ideas until they become lifeless shells of ill inspiration. Fear dilutes ideas. Fear pours a triple serving of water into your Kool-Aid. Honour your big ideas. Be brave. Put them to air unencumbered and reap the benefits. Apple’s “1984” commercial is widely considered to be one of the greatest advertisements of all time. When this ad was presented to the board of executives by Chiat/Day they hated it. In fact, it almost lost them the account. It was a big scary idea. In the end, it only saw the light of day because of a few brave men, one of whom was Steve Jobs.
  2. Airing Dirty Laundry – A rebrand can be terrifying. It’s a tough decision to arrive at in the first place. It’s even scarier to share the decision with the world. This does not apply to all businesses. But, some businesses will eventually hit a very big landmine. Public opinion of the business will change. Rumours may spread and judgement may be cast. Some companies will choose to sweep “dirty laundry” under the rug, choosing to ride out the storm. Brave companies “air their dirty laundry” and emerge from the situation healthier. I don’t want to go into great detail on what “dirty laundry” is. It’s different in every industry. The underlying thought is, if public opinion of your company is widely believed to be poor, address it. People respect honesty.
  3. Piss people off – Sometimes you just need to make a big scene. I’m not suggesting pushing the limits of decency. But, it can be very beneficial to push the limits of your own comfort zone. I always tell people that it’s a good sign to receive complaints. It means your message is getting heard. Usually, those complaints are coming from people that would never use your product anyways. Complaints are the litmus test of a good edgy campaign. You can’t expect to please everybody. That’s a recipe for disaster. So, if you decide your core clientele is women between 20-35 years old, who cares if you bother a few old men.
  4. Spend $$$ - I’ve saved the scariest test of bravery for last. Buying advertising is a leap of faith. It’s not best used lightly, especially radio. I often advise against spending small sums of money on radio. It can be very difficult to have a successful campaign on a small buy. Not impossible, but difficult. Radio (and many other mediums) are infinitely more effective when you back your commercials with your wallet. It’s scary as hell. But, your message needs to be heard to be useful. It needs to be aired often to be memorable. And, you need to be brave to all of these things.


The braver you are, the more successful you will be. Remember how scary it was when you started your own business? You had to quit your job and commit to working every day for something that made you zero dollars. But, you had faith that things would improve. They did! You have it in you to be brave. It’s time to take another leap. I’d love to be along for the ride when you’re ready to jump.