You Hired Risk Takers, What’s Stopping Them?

As marketers, we tell our friends and family that we are innovative; that we are risk-takers and that we are creating ideas that have never been done before. But are we really doing the most innovative work we could be doing?

Miller Lite recently told fans to unfollow them on Instagram. This goes against every KPI ever set.

Thinx released an ad showcasing what would happen if men had periods. They fought advertisers for space.

Budweiser released mug shots in support of responsible drinking. This directly linked their product to a negative outcome.

Billie highlighted women’s pubic hair. This challenged the “inappropriate content” definition on social media platforms.

Aviation Gin capitalized on an ad gone wrong by hiring the main character and showcasing another point of view. They shot this on a Friday morning and broke tradition of a lengthly feedback and editing process – and got it live that night.

That’s five brands that can answer that question with a yes—they weren’t afraid to take a risk to prioritize innovation.

Every single one of these campaigns received praise from places like Fast Company to Thrillist, with headlines proving that innovation prevails. So what do they all have in common? Their executives trust their employees and their agencies. While they may have been uncomfortable, or had to be pitched for months that the idea would work, they bought it.

Agencies and in-house employees are hired for their ability to think outside the box based on a proven track record. The expectations for everyone involved are high, and we fight to prove that we are who we say we are. So what’s stopping us?

Innovation halts at the C-level. Marketers often fear rejection from their bosses or clients, and once rejection sets in, eventually they stop pitching ideas that push boundaries. In 2019, leaders need to step up and encourage their staff to go against the grain. The trick is, they need to say “yes” to keep the innovation flowing, or else the staff they hired to better their business will fall into the box you’ve put them in.

Kristin “KB” Busk is Director of Social Innovation at The Many.

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