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Marketing your company: It’s time to stop embracing failure and chase perfection instead

There’s too much talk today about embracing failure, according to Matthew Robinson, group development director at digital content provider The Moment, who is also of the belief that the idea is misplaced.
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People who start their own businesses often do it because they believe that they’re offering something that no one else is offering, or at least they’re offering a better version of what is currently around. They need to be more confident about their offering and focus on their strengths, Robinson argued.

“In the world of content marketing the watercooler conversation these days is dominated by talk of ‘failing fast’ and ‘moving fast and breaking things’,” said Robinson. “Of course, making mistakes is part of the learning process and we need to embrace that, however, I believe that all too often we obsess over our weaknesses, diverting our attention from our goals and what is possible.”

This is one of the themes covered in The Moment’s new C4 series, “Chasing Perfection,” created with the Open University and coming out in the next couple of weeks. It shows Michael Johnson, World Champion and current holder of the world and Olympic record in the 400 metres, outline his quest for perfection in the field of athletics. There are so many parallels with the other industries, it can’t help but make you think of what chasing perfection in marketing means.

“Taking inspiration from Olympians and elite athletes, we should be chasing the impossible and looking for perfection so we can raise standards across the board,” he said. “This is what Olympians do, as Proctor & Gamble discovered when it interviewed athletes and their mums as part of the ‘Proud Sponsors of Mums’ London 2012 Olympics campaign.”

According to Robinson the sponsor found, unwaveringly, that the common ingredient for success was a single-minded focus on the athletes’ strengths and building them to as close to perfection as possible, rather than trying to improve their weaker areas. They acknowledged them, of course, but they didn’t obsess.

Read more about the link between sports and business:

Creating arresting content that is going to capture the attention of a cluttered market is a risky business, with many hurdles to overcome, he acknowledged. “If you think about how you could fail over all of them, you will. Instead, you should be envisioning a perfect jump.”

“Chasing Perfection” highlights the dedication of athletes, their strive to be the best they can be and the individual journey that every athlete takes to get there. Similarly, Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest American football coaches of all time, once said, “perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” 

Robinson said: “Both essentially say the same thing: if you are unrelentingly ambitious, then you’re constantly evolving, constantly moving forward, and this attitude will enable you to achieve things that the rest of the market cannot even yet imagine.”

In the corporate world, the Olympian equivalents are the likes of Uber and Airbnb, which turned sectors upside down by having a vision of how business could be done differently. In the content marketing world specifically, the disruptors are fewer and further between, Robinson claimed, but there should be more. “There are those who have the courage not to tweak brand plans year on year, but instead start completely afresh.”

He cited restaurant chain Chipotle’s Farmed and Dangerous content series as a great example of the creation of a whole new marketing platform in recognition of the fact that its audience demands authenticity.

Newcastle Brown Ale, is another, he said. It’s taking a world news agenda like Superbowl and hijacking it with its wise-cracking #ifwemadeit campaign so it can contribute meaningfully to the conversation in real time. Red Bull, clearly, is another trailblazer, by creating the right environment with Red Bull Media House and genuine passion for sports and music they have produced content that audiences flock to.

“A winning attitude can be applied to all industries,” said Robinson. “Yet, although the traditional marketing and advertising industry recognises that it needs to reinvent itself, the marketing models being applied are largely the same that they were years ago, pre-content revolution, albeit with a few new channels thrown in and automated optimisation. This is accepting the status quo, not aiming higher.”

He added “As a small business or entrepreneur, you can be more nimble and agile in the content race than your bigger, slower rivals. But, if you don’t join the chase for perfection soon, you will be eating the dust of those that do.”

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