The Bolder the Better: Take Marketing Risks Like a Pro

Taking Marketing Risks


As any marketer knows, being bold can get you and your brand a lot of attention. But any attention isn’t necessarily good attention, so it’s important to be strategic when taking risks. You want your bold marketing to elevate your business, not alienate your audience. If you’re trying to figure out how to strike this delicate balance, here are a few tips from brands that have done so masterfully.


Tie Into Pop Culture

T-Mobile recently unveiled an innovative program, T-Mobile ONE, which offers a flat rate for cell services and an unlimited data plan with no hidden fees. The company has marketed this new offering through many avenues, but one of the most notable was their Super Bowl commercial. In the commercial, actress Kristen Schaal spoofs the “50 Shades of Grey” series by talking about the pain that other carriers cause their customers.


This was a risky move, because it dabbles in a pop culture phenomenon with overtly sexual underpinnings. But the move paid off. T-Mobile kept this commercial appropriate for the family-friendly Super Bowl, made it humorous (and therefore memorable) and successfully showcased its own attributes against those of its competitors. The takeaway is to consider tying your marketing campaigns into pop culture themes that give your brand a chance to show its relevance, strengths and sense of humor.


Acknowledge Shortcomings

Another chancy marketing tactic is to admit to prior failure. This is exactly what Domino’s did when it launched a campaign that acknowledged its poor reputation. The company took a transparent approach to admit past mistakes and share with customers the exact ways it would be overhauling its recipes and ingredient lists. The campaign totally worked, and Domino earned countless new customers in the process.


When you apply this sort of marketing approach to your business, tread carefully. The key to making this work (and not work against you) is to make sure you’re well beyond the failure that you’re discussing. You must be able to explain a good reason for why the error happened, and be ready to share a concrete plan about how you’re rectifying it. If handled elegantly and truthfully, this can be an effective bold move to make.


Tackle Social Issues

One more way to embolden your marketing efforts is by becoming a force for good. This is exactly what Dove did when it launched its Real Beauty campaign. More recently, the company came out with a new spin on it, called My Beauty My Say, which is a social media-based campaign intended to empower women. Women are encouraged to share stories of when their looks held them back, along with how they overcame it. This has been resoundingly embraced, and has again put Dove on the map in the eyes of its key audience.


If you want to create positive change for a social issue and get your brand noticed like Dove has, there are a couple things to keep in mind. While this works best if you’re already a notable brand, you can still be bold if you’re not. Make sure you’re contributing to a social cause that your customers will care about, so that you ultimately get noticed by the right people who can become buyers. Also, your campaign should really be focused on the “good” it is intended to do. If it looks like it’s only for publicity purposes, this type of marketing can backfire.


So the next time you’re looking to make a splash with your marketing, consider being bold like these companies have. You never know, it might just be a matter of time until other brands want to mirror your tactics!

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