Brave Summer - Holding Out for a Hero

Holding Out for a Hero

Bricks small
Bricks small

SapientNitro and Richard Branson need to have a chat. There’s a lot Sir Richard can teach them, perhaps he can consult? Anyone connected to both of them on LinkedIn so we can make this happen?

In the piece Where have all the brave brands gone? SN’s Kim Douglas becomes the latest in a line of people talking about bravery for brands. We even like the effort at outlining a few things brave brands need to think about. Thanks for the tee-up, Kim.

What is it to be brave?

Problem is, not everyone’s ready to be a brave brand. Many people understand the words (“understand consumers’ needs”, “rethink your offerings”, “test, learn and adapt”)...but they don’t Understand them with a capital “U”.

Reluctance and even fear hold them back - the reluctance and fear associated with stepping away from the un-brave norm, with taking any sort of risk in fact.

This totally-understandable-yet-complex network of thoughts and feelings stand in the way of brands becoming brave.  Whether they know it or not, as Kim Douglas hints, many brands are holding out for a hero.

Get your hero goggles on

The thing is that many of them are seeking that brave-making hero so much that they fail to recognise or outright reject their hero when she turns up.  Listen to Sir Richard: companies aren’t hiring disruptive talent enough.  Convention-driven HR policies and habits discourage it.  The same issues sometimes rear their heads when a company hires an agency.

Kim and Sir Richard are talking about two sides of the same issue, without necessarily seeing that they’re connected. You don’t just need a brand agency, digital agency, a few new recruits, a fresh strategy.  You need bravery to realise that you need to be brave.  You then need to pull together the talent to address the innovation, brand strategy and capability issues that will get you to a brave-brand place.

This issue is very real.  Our very own James Pattinson recently dealt with it in a piece for Marketing Magazine on the challenges for the new P&G CEO.  They’re going to need to be brave and foster a culture of risk-taking innovation, or face an uphill struggle with the other issues they face.

Maybe for P&G that happens team-by-team, or brand-by-brand, or senior leadership first.  Whichever way, it’s going to take more disruptive talent and approaches - not just more of the same people and agencies.

So, sure, hold out for a hero.  But don’t expect them to be clad in the conventional armour of the “Advertising Agency” or “Digital Agency” or “Marketing Director” or “CEO”.  Heed Sir Richard, take a deep breath, disrupt your idea of disruption and start working with some people that are really going to help you be brave.