“What a dumb thing I did and it was a risk I didn’t have to take.” 

That’s a regret we at Image Marketing Consultants are hearing more often.  That’s because just about everything, ranging from the economy to social norms, is in flux.  That means that much of what involves public interaction involves some degree of risk.   Of course, it’s not possible to avoid all risk.  Play it “too safe” and you can come across as inauthentic.

Yesterday, we at Image Marketing Consulting listened to a webinar that proved puzzling.  The expert who presented material about media, from the get-go, used industrial-strength profanity.  The audience numbered over a 1000.  Therefore, we have to assume some of them might have been quite turned off.  One of our staffe noted that the presenter’s credibilty was deep-sixed by that incredible lack of sensitivity about who might be in the audience.

Here are 3 tips from Image Marketing Consultants on how to approach risk in smart ways:

Know the audience.  It might consist of one, the job interviewer, or a 1000 as with the webinar.  Research their values, especially social norms and the organizational culture.  Then align what you say and write with those.  The best salespeople do exactly that.  They call it “mirroring” the prospects.

Trial-run everything.  In marketing, even small businesses test out several kinds of email communications before they launch a major campaign.  In your head or on a piece of paper a certain approach may seem great.  In reality it could fail to resonate or offend those you can’t afford to irritate.  Find trusted allies you can run material by and role play for.

Everything changes.  Just because a tactic worked last month or in a robust economy doesn’t mean it will be effective today.   That’s why it’s shrewd to investigate the mood of the audience.  If the company just lost a major defense contract and you are trying to sell your products to it, you will have to frame your sales pitch accordingly.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultants for Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.