5 Dares for You (Dare Day) 

Risks are inevitable if we want to grow. Even if you want to play it safe in your marketing efforts, the world we live in is unpredictable and we cannot always be in control. Take COVID, for example – it disrupted everything.  

Some of us love taking risks while others prefer to air on the side of caution. However, risks provide great opportunity to learn, to gain a better understanding of your target audience, and build a more robust long-term strategy. So, in the spirit of World Dare Day, let’s assess the biggest risks companies have taken and challenge ourselves to be more courageous. 

An Ode to the Risk Takers

1. Dove 
Dove’s real beauty campaign might not seem like a big deal in today’s “woke” world but what they did back in 2009 was revolutionary. They conducted research about women’s self-perception regarding beauty and the results were heartbreaking (source):

  • Only 4% of women in the world think themselves attractive (up from 2% in 2004).  
  • Only 11% of girls worldwide are confident in calling themselves “beautiful.”  
  • 54% of women say that they are their own worst beauty critics.  

This, combined with low sales, pushed Dove to do something innovative with their ad campaigns. Instead of hiring top models to represent beauty, they hired ordinary people to feature in their campaign.  

Why was it a risk?   

They did something different from the norms in beauty and personal care. It’s always a big risk doing something that hasn’t been done before – if it works, you may enhance your brand image and increase revenue but if it fails, your reputation is at risk. It many cases, as with Dove, the risk pays off.

Why was it worth it?   
The Dove Real Beauty campaign became an integral part of their brand identity and influenced other brands to be more inclusive with their marketing efforts. Recently, Victoria’s Secret also jumped on the inclusivity bandwagon after their sales declined (in my opinion, a little too late), proving that being inclusive is not a choice but a necessity for businesses to survive.  

2. Twitter 

Back before Elon Musk’s attempted takeover of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg was eyeing this social networking site. In 2008, Zuckerberg, the founder of Meta, offered to buy Twitter for $500 million in order to reduce the competition against Facebook. Even though he successfully gained ownership of WhatsApp and Instagram, he was not able to do the same with Twitter. The owners of Twitter realised the value their company held and chose to develop it more rather than giving it up.  

Why was it a risk?  
Today, Twitter is a major social media platform but back in the day, nobody knew for certain that it would reach the level of success that it has. Co-founders Ev Williams and Jack Dorsey took a major risk by forsaking a $500 million dollar deal. It is admirable how they believed in their product despite the temptation.  

Why was it worth it?  

Today, Twitter is worth $40.1 billion – far more than what Zuckerberg offered in 2008. In addition, the founders’ persistence has made Twitter a prominent marketing platform which is now an integral part of any social media strategy.  

3. Burger King 
Before plant-based diets became as popular as they are today, Burger King took the risk of doing something different with their menu. In August 2019, they changed the fast-food game by introducing the Impossible Whopper to their menu, a plant-based equivalent of a beef burger. The Impossible Whopper was an instant hit. It was so successful that after its debut, sales increased by 6% in the first quarter, attracting both new and returning clients – the biggest increase in Burger King’s sales since 2015. 

Why was it a risk?  
Introducing a plant-based option moved them away from their beefy identity. This could have easily worked against them as the majority of their clientele were not vegetarians, and they may have been reluctant to try a plant-based burger. Another possibility was that vegetarians might not trust the company with producing authentic plant-based products.  

Why was it worth it?   
Introducing the Impossible Whopper set them apart from other fast-food joints such as McDonald’ and Wendy’s. This move established them as an inclusive restaurant chain and opened the doors to a new audience. 

5. Lego 

Lego was always very successful in the niche of making toys, but they wanted to expand their horizons and cater to their audience in more ways. This is when they started dipping their toes in making video games, movies, and more.

Why was it a risk?  

If their new ventures had failed, the company’s reputation may have suffered. “Remember when a toy company tried to make a video game and failed?” could have been the company’s image if things didn’t go to plan. Trying new things that were outside their field of expertise could have brought them a lot of negative publicity and people could have lost interest in the company altogether. 

Why was it worth it?  
Today, the Lego franchise licenses from brands like Star Wars and Marvel. They even created a highly successful movie (The Lego Movie) and a chain of famous theme parks. They exceeded our expectations of what a toy seller could do, and they have truly mastered the art of staying relevant.  

I hope these risks have made you excited to take up one of these dares mentioned below.

Dare 1: Go Wild  
Be wild with your content every now and then – execute that idea that you have been keeping to yourself. Now, by wild, I don’t mean doing things that might be considered black hat practice. A good example would be writing a very personal article based on your experience that might not seem SEO friendly but is important to you. You can dedicate one post per month to ideas like this. 

Dare 2: Expand Your Target Audience  
It’s very important to have a specific target audience, but you need to expand it once in a while, as the Burger King campaign demonstrated. This will bring insights into your brand’s potential, giving you some ideas about new directions you can take it in.  

Dare 3: Go Big 
This dare is for business owners or people with control over the marketing budget. It’s the riskiest dare on the list, but the payoff could be high. If you have a solid strategy that you really want to execute but it requires significant budget, I suggest you go for it. Instead of playing it safe, give that strategy you’ve been sitting on the opportunity to prove its potential.  

Dare 4: Do Not Follow the Competition 
I’m sure some great marketing plans have been dismissed because they diverge from the norm, but we need to let go of the importance we give to what the competition is doing. There is no way of knowing whether what they are doing is working for them or not. So, on this dare day, take out your marketing plan and start executing it.  

Dare 5: Ask for Help 
Sometimes, we need to put our egos aside and accept help from others. Getting advice from others will also help you grow, so you don’t need to be embarrassed about it. Remember that if you never ask, you never give others the opportunity to say yes. So, there’s nothing to lose here.  

Why Has Taking Risks Become a Necessity?

Marketers cannot avoid taking risks forever – playing it safe all the time is only going to limit your potential. I am not daring you to use all the ad budget in one go or hire the most expensive brand ambassador. I’m talking about breaking out of stagnancy in our day-to-day lives. You can do this in simple ways such as changing the tone of voice in your blog once in a while or mixing up your business’ Instagram feed for the sake of experimentation. Even taking small risks like this can have a great positive impact on your business. Here are a few more benefits of taking risks: 

  1. Encouraging innovation – In this rapidly changing world, it is only through constant innovation that we can stay relevant, and innovation does not happen while playing it safe. Provide a safe space for your team where they do not feel scared to take risks and watch them become more innovative.  
  2. New challenges – What’s the best part of a risk not working out? You get to challenge yourself by rethinking your whole approach which not only humbles you, but also pushes you to do better in the future. Ultimately, you learn more from taking risks and failing than playing it safe. 
  3. Building identity and character – Your brand identity needs to be unique, and repurposing age-old practices all the time will not help you in the long-run. Taking risks will help you build a brand identity like no other, and it will future proof your strategy because you will know what works and what doesn’t.  There are so many brands that I remember not for their product but, for their risky and ridiculous advertisements.


Failure is a learning experience. If you take a risk and it doesn’t benefit you, that doesn’t mean you failed. Instead, it gave you an opportunity to learn more. It’s not always easy to take risks, especially when the stakes are high, but it’s only with experience that you can tell when to take a risk and when it’s not worth it. So, if you never start experimenting, you will never gain that experience to draw upon later.  

The stories above have proven that risks can be worthwhile if you plan ahead of time and don’t bet your entire fortune on them. I hope you’ve been inspired to you to start taking more risks in your marketing efforts – and what better time to start than on World Dare Day? 

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