On the edge.
I can still remember when my older brother brought home a cassette of The Cars’ self-titled debut album. It was 1978. It didn’t sound like anything I had ever heard. The Cars were weird and I really liked them. The other day I was sitting, waiting and reading Good Housekeeping in an Urgent Care facility (it’s a long, uninteresting story) and noticed the background music; it was the Cars’ Good Times Roll. It occurred to me that in 2015 The Cars are no longer weird and no longer on the edge.
As marketers, we know the edge is where it’s at…the middle blows. Unfortunately the edge is always moving. We slide to the middle, if we stay stationary—a little less interesting, and worse, a little less relevant.
Staying out front is hard work. It requires two virtues that seem somewhat at odds with each other: discipline and disregard. It takes discipline to keep throwing away the safe stuff and it takes disregard to keep ignoring the blank stares, the pregnant pauses and the sound of crickets when the edgy ideas don’t connect.
So if you’re a client, be happy your agency pushes you with creative that makes you a little uncomfortable. Remember to be kind (or at the very least constructive) with your criticism. They’re doing the job you hired them to do.
If you’re a creative type, keep pushing even if you get the occasional beat-down. It’s the price you pay for a job that lets you drink at your desk while you cruise Pinterest.