When people ask me where I live, I always answer the same way—on the edge. Then I stare at them without blinking until it gets so uncomfortable they have to look away. Dang, I’m edgy. Now excuse me while I unicycle on this mountain range.

UnicyleMountain

We hear a lot about edginess nowadays. In fact, sometimes it seems like being edgy is the only way to get attention. But “edge” is nothing without relevance. At worst, irrelevant edginess can come across as just another teen doing obnoxious teen things in public—soon to be forgotten. And like a teen, you can lose control of your edge and eventually run out of it. Right, teens and Andrew Dice Clay?

To be truly edgy is to be smart. Fearlessly honest. You have to make sure that your message is uniquely ownable and rooted in your brand promise, while keeping your audience and category in mind. For example, what sort of messaging would be considered edgy for a grocery store? Or insurance? or soap?

Or how do you find the edge of the 2014 International Gay Games without being offensive? You flip an offensive remark on its head by making it the tagline that answers inspiring copy. Show striking photos of true athleticism. Then watch the gay and straight communities stand up and cheer. How’s that for “edge,” U2?

So, step back. Evaluate your situation and how willing you are to go out of your comfort zone. And keep in mind that today’s edgy hipster beard and ironic haircut is tomorrow’s mustache and mullet. Also, if you need help finding your brand’s edge, you know exactly where to find me. (See photo above.)