Sometimes a brand's worst enemy is its risk adverse caretaker. Usually, to break through in an overcrowded marketplace, a brand has to take some risks and do things that other brands in the category are not doing.
My biggest disappointment as a brand strategy consultant is when, through rigorous research and out-of-the-box thinking, we help a client identify a breakthrough strategy that has the potential to catapult their brand ahead of the competition but then, due to their risk aversion, they decide not to execute that strategy.
These phrases are telltale signs of that type of thinking:
- I just don't know if senior management will go for that.
- It will cost too much.
- It is a risky move.
- But we don't know if it will work.
- We've never done that before.
- No one else is doing that.
- There's probably a good reason it never has been done before.
- It is just too edgy.
- What if it turns some of our current customers off?
- I want to hold on to my job.
- But we don't know how to do that.
- I think we just need to take small, incremental steps toward that.
- It's a great idea. Maybe we should consider it again in a couple of years.
- But that will require a lot of changes.
- I just don't know if our people are up for that.
- But how can we walk away from 150 years of history?
- Don't ask me to present that.
- But what if it doesn't work?
- I think it will put our brand too much in the spotlight.
- That is crossing a line that no one has crossed.
- But what if we fail?
- It's more than this organization can digest right now.
- I am afraid that there are too many fires we need to fight right now. We do not have time for this.
- I think the idea is just too far ahead of its time.
Only leadership teams that are willing to try new approaches and take calculated risks will ultimately survive and thrive in the long run. Breakthrough thinking and disruptive strategies are essential to long-term survival and growth.