GTM Unleashed: Poke the Beast: The Power of Agitation in Business

Have you ever watched a lion tamer poke a wild lion to rouse it? Sounds dangerous! But in the business world, this provocation, this act of agitation, is not just beneficial—it’s vital. Like poking the lion, agitating the problem is all about bringing it to the fore, making it impossible to ignore1.

How do you make your message heard in a world drowning in white noise? You strike a chord. A raw, painful chord. Make your audience feel the problem. Paint the problem in vivid, unapologetic strokes until it’s so glaringly obvious that they cannot look away2. This isn’t about manufacturing issues but rather about highlighting the existing ones that are conveniently swept under the rug.

Consider the advertising industry. The most memorable campaigns don’t just sell a product; they stir a problem. Remember Dove’s “Real Beauty” sketches? It wasn’t about soap. It was about the widespread issue of self-esteem in women3. By agitating the problem of distorted self-image, Dove didn’t just sell a product; they started a conversation.

The trick is not to leave the problem hanging in the abyss of discomfort. Agitation is only the first half of the equation. Once you’ve highlighted the issue, offer a solution, ideally yours. Make it the light at the end of a very turbulent tunnel.

To the conservatives, this tactic might seem risky, even brutal. But remember, nobody remembers the lion that sat quietly in the corner. They remember the one that roared.

Ultimately, businesses that dare to poke, provoke, and prod are the ones that incite change. They command attention. As the saying goes, “It’s the stone in your shoe, not the mountain ahead, that wears you out.”

“Agitate the problem until it’s too loud to ignore.” – Unknown


  1. Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2007). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Random House. 
  2. Harvard Business Review: The Power of Defining What Your Company Isn’t
  3. The Conversation: A brand for social change? The myth of Dove’s ‘real beauty’

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