Does fear of failure restrict your brand?

Seth Godin’s recent post about fear of failure really resonated with me.  I’ve definitely approached my life with a degree of fear about what ‘might’ be.  I can recall situations where I’ve held myself back for fear of failure.  To protect myself.  Not said what I thought – then wondered why no one appreciates my opinion.  Not pushed myself out of my comfort zone – then wondered why I felt unchallenged.  Sound familiar?

Of course, brands can make the same mistake.  They want to be thought leaders but they’re afraid to have an opinion.  So they don’t comment on what’s important and relevant to them.  What if someone disagrees with us?  What if they decide not to buy from us because of that?  What if we appeal to some people but not to others?  I’m sure my friends in communications or PR roles would recognise these reasons not to comment.

Every business and marketing student learns from Michael Porter about being ‘stuck in the middle’ and what a bad strategy that is.  It’s easy to see having no opinion, or appealing to everyone, as safety.  In reality, at best it’s unmemorable and at worst no-one is compelled to engage or buy from you.

My fears usually come from overthinking and a desire to please. Yet I have been at my happiest and added most value where I’ve been prepared to show who I am and why that’s good.  And that’s usually led to success, not failure.

As a freelance B2B brand and marketing consultant, I’ve had to put myself and my opinions out there to get work.  As an individual I’ve started to embrace who I am and push myself to do things I’ve always told myself I couldn’t – like walking.  I now have an opinion that I can do these things. And so it’s likely I will.

If you and your brand have an opinion, why not speak up with conviction and consistency?  Show what you stand for, not what you fear.