Great Marketing Requires Courage


From the time we were little, we learned this self-protecting little trick. We might pretend to be a little different than we are just to fit in. Or, we might hide who we really are so that we don't get judged. You'd think that we would grow out of this, but we don't. We play these same tricks today, maybe so that we fit in at work, get the next promotion or are invited to the neighborhood barbecue.

What’s interesting is that I’ve seen this play out on a larger scale in business. Over the years, many companies have come to us at Carbon8 to help them develop their branding and messaging. Our clients are smart and very well versed in marketing principles. They know that a strong brand is one that is simple, clear and memorable. But committing to a simple, clear, memorable brand can be a challenge.

What we’ve seen is that it can be scary to firmly stake a claim in the market and shout loudly and clearly that you are proudly and confidently what you say you are. We are afraid that by doing so, we might lose a customer segment, or offend our customers, or simply cause a fight internally in the organization.

We like to pretend we can be everything to everybody. It feels safer. But it’s not. Customers see through it and they don’t believe it. You end up with a mushy brand that nobody can emotionally attach to or remember. On the other hand, if you have the courage to be bold and clear and, in fact, honest to the market about who you are and what you can really do, there’s power in that. When you attach your company to one big idea, people will be drawn to you. They’ll know who you are.

I remember one leader of a startup say, “We are desperate for any customers and will take them from wherever they come from. If we focus our message, I’m afraid we might exclude ourselves from an opportunity.” I get that sentiment. It’s something we felt in the early days of Carbon8, but this is where the courage comes in. You have to have the courage to believe that if you actually have something unique and valuable to offer, by embracing it and shouting it to the marketplace, you will be far more successful than if you try to be everything to everybody.

Mark Mitton
written by MARK MITTON

Mark Mitton is the president of Carbon8, bringing his passion for creative, strategic branding and deep experience in digital marketing to Carbon8 clients (and employees!). Mark founded Carbon8 with the knowledge that, in today’s digital age, beautiful creative and smart strategy must be supported by a strong programming team.

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