Emotional Risk

The difference between brands that stand out and those that blend in.

The internet is a vast and dynamic social ground – say one wrong thing and you might face blowback. 

Or, tell the right joke, in the right style, on Twitter or Tiktok, and watch your views skyrocket into the thousands or even hundreds of thousands. 

In this dynamic space, where emotional reactions drive bubbles of narratives up to the surface and then pop them, looking for the next story…

It’s easy to become paralyzed. 

Today, risk-taking is emotional.

When people say they are taking a risk – what they really mean is that they are “afraid of looking stupid.”

When we knowingly expose ourselves…

When we choose to put our ideas out there on a limb for the world to see…

We have the opportunity to connect and grow. 

Like an investment, brand building has a risk/reward ratio. 

But to the person who doesn’t want to be thrown out of the group, it can be frightening to put something truly new out there into the world.

And so we see brands that are… boring. 

And so there is one key difference between brands that lead and stand out, and those that blend in:

Brands that blend in are ‘trying to look good’.

Whereas brands that stand out are ‘willing to look bad in the pursuit of doing something good.’

The opportunities today have never been greater.

We’ve been given the tools.

We have idea-amplification networks.

We have creatives who can execute. 

But it’s the emotional risk that still holds us back.

It’s the fear of looking stupid. It’s the fear that what you’re doing might not be heard because it is about something new.

So, as a brand, this is your arbitrage.

Do you care enough to take a risk and do something good?

Not something cheap and offensive, or something incendiary for clicks.

Something that is worth putting yourself on the line for?

The good news is that the internet is vast and dynamic. 

Your “looking bad” is quickly forgotten, if noticed at all. 

And in our hyper-niche world – specific-risk is what rallies a community.

And so this “risk-taking” can become a repeated practice. Something you do in big and small ways. In small, unnoticeable moments with a customer. Or in larger campaigns that share your point of view.  

So, you say you want to stand out. 

But are you willing to take the emotional risk?

xx David


Hey, what’s up it’s David. I love brand communication and helping founders grow. I founded Death to Stock and help organize Jacuzzi Club. etc. etc.

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