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Defying Daedalus: The Story Behind Mad Icarus Media

Posted on October 7, 2016 by Chris Spinner

Throughout time, people have learned about the world by the stories passed down to them by those before them. Cave paintings recounted the events of great hunts, bards educated through song and poem, and parents put their children to bed with stories we’ve all come to know as classics. While these stories help familiarize us with dangers and impress values upon us, they can also stunt us in a way.

The tale of Icarus is not one you might have heard before bed as a child. However, this myth deserves attention and, in the end, a new approach!

The Story of Wax Wings

The tale of Icarus and his death begins with his father, Daedalus, the great craftsman. The story tells us, the King of Minos ordered Daedalus, a refugee in Crete at the time, to build a Labyrinth to house his son, the infamous Minotaur.

After proving disloyal, the King imprisoned Daedalus and his son within the walls of the Labyrinth.

The craftsman, discouraged by his circumstance, planned his escape. Constructing wings of wax and feathers, Daedalus looked to the sky above the Labyrinth’s walls.

While the wings did provide the father and son their avenue of escape, Daedalus feared the risks inherent in his design. The feathers could not touch the sea; water would destroy them. And the sun would melt the wax if they flew too high.

Daedalus, handing Icarus his wings, warned him of these limits. But, taking to the sky, his son succumbed to the thrill of flight. Icarus climbed higher to the sun, soaring closer to the sun and his demise.

As the wax melted, the feathers began to break away. Icarus, too close to the sun, destroyed his wings. The boy fell from the sky, drowning in the ocean below.

Rethinking the Moral

Hearing this story, you can detect the stress Daedalus imposes on Icarus about where to fly. The lesson urges us to live in the “safe zone.” Be conservative, stay in the middle, resist the bold temptation to fly high.

This interpretation has become the thesis of Seth Godin’s work, The Icarus Deception. Godin argues that this story is a deception, a rouse to keep us grounded and humble. In business, it’s paramount that humility takes the occasional backseat to hubris.

If you are the best at something, do not limit yourself to a “safe” marketing approach! Dare to be the business you dreamed it would be!

If you own a Pizzeria and customer asks if you make the best pizza in town, your answer should not be “Well… I mean… I guess so. I’m sure there are other great pizza places around too!” You answer should be a resounding “Hell YES!” and then back it up. Do not fear a soaring height, seek it out and embrace it.

The Daedalus Deception

As marketers, we reject this idea of staying within a safe zone. Yes, Daedalus might have accurately outlined the limitations of his wax wings, there is no arguing that. But we shouldn’t shun Icarus for casting fear aside and pushing the limits.

How do you live in a world with wings built of wax? In a world where the sun rises and sets each morning and every night, how do we stand out amongst the competition crowding the space between the sun and the sea?

We admit that Icarus erred when he flew too close to the sun however we refuse to accept that Icarus flew too high.

Instead, we are confounded by why Icarus chose to escape during the day!

Icarus was right when he decided to soar higher and higher; he just failed to realize a night flight might have allowed him a limitless escape. We applaud Icarus’ bold ambition to fly as high as possible; no one should accept a range of safe possibilities.

Approaching a marketing strategy requires the same thinking. There are safe agendas, and then there are bold statements that turn heads. With everyone struggling to compete to preserve their wax wings, we simply ask, why not rethink the parameters and soar above them?

Tackling your marketing strategy with a conservative approach will reap mediocre results. You will never rise above and outshine your competitors if you’re busy executing a similar strategy.

Instead, you need to step up and distinguish yourself as something different, as something bold, before capturing your target market.

We dare you to challenge yourself and rise to your potential. Brilliant marketing is an exciting and creative environment that requires uninhibited flight. A marketing company should strive to push their client’s boundaries and comfort levels. Otherwise, you fail to rise above the timid horde. Remember — we are only limited to the sky if we refuse to build a ladder to the sun.

Tired of flying in the “marketing safe zone?” Click the button below to schedule a free 30 minute marketing assessment.

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October 7, 2016

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