Ok - so flooded might be a bit of an exaggeration, and actually most of the emails and messages I have received have been super excited, and supportive. But yesterday was a fascinating curve ball kind of day. I took a big risk. I have shared more than my fair share of bikini pics over the year, but something about this seems quite different! But why?
One of the biggest challenges for any brand, any risk taking - story telling - push life's limits brand, is calculating precisely how far to cross the line and what the balance is between increasing awareness and causing brand damage.
Abercrombie and Fitch have long been reputed to cross cultural norms and exceed limits. Their highly sexualized campaigns offend as much as they appeal, but it gets them press. Last week Ikea was chastised publicly for removing women from their Saudi Arabian catalog, but where do cultural norms, capitalistic endeavors, and social good align.
I think back to one of my wise business school professors, Professor Sasha Strauss and his Innovation Protocol of brand analysis. You'll have to take his course to get all the steps, but one major point is to determine "what does your brand do every day?"
Well for Caution Curves Ahead, this one is pretty clear.
The sole purpose of Caution Curves is to inspire courage and empower this audience to reach beyond their perceived limits - physical, creative, emotional and intellectual limits. We are far stronger than we can ever imagine. We are capable of great things. We must reach higher.
Caution Curves Ahead is about knowing that life's curves will come, they will be unexpected, and you are strong enough to take them on.
So how exactly does my recent product launch version of a naughty pic correlate with Caution Curves Ahead's goal to inspire courage??? Ummm, pretty sure a woman who's no super model, has spent years dealing with body image issues, weight gain, weight loss and measures 36' 31' 44' is either insane or possibly courageous to put her booty shorts pic on the interweb. If I'm not afraid to admit what I'm made of, you shouldn't be either.
See, I'm perfectly happy with the curves I've worked hard for. I get up at least 5 days a week to sweat with friends, am pretty much always dealing with a blister or two, and glare at my jeans as often as the next woman. BUT I have also completed 6 marathons, 3 1/2 marathons, and 2 triathlons. I am NO supermodel, or even all that skinny compared to lotsa LA ladies. I'm just me.
Really, I was just thrilled to receive the merchandise from my vendor Cafe Press. I ordered each and every item to ensure that they were all PERFECT before promoting them to you guys.
Guess what??? As cute as those briefs were, four hours later - THE LOGO PEELED OFF! Turned out to be a total brand fail! I took a risk, tried on some cutey booty briefs, and learned pretty quickly that as cute as they looked, the would be a terrible thing to sell to you guys! BUMMER.
But so far the water bottle, the coffee cup, the sweat pants, the tank top, the long sleeve shirts - are all pretty rad.
In branding and story telling I've learned is one thing is required
In life that rule also applies. Be authentic, be real, don't be afraid to take a risk.