Friday, June 04, 2010

Power Marketing Tip 38: Pick Your Enemy

Who is your enemy?

"You complete me"

The Joker taunted Batman with that phrase in the movie The Dark Knight. The public image of both Batman and the Joker were stronger because of their conflict. A champion needs a formidable villain and vice versa.

The marketing lesson from that is that the public defines you by your competition. If you are not well known maybe you need to pick a tougher enemy.

Make Your Enemy Appear More Frightening

The boxer Mohammad Ali understood this marketing principle and demonstrated it well. He built up the credibility and threat of each of his opponents before every fight. That made his victories more exciting.

Lex Luthor was legitimized by his position as the greatest enemy of Superman. Sir Edmund Hillary is nothing without Mount Everest. Wyatt Earp is remembered by his fight with the Clantons. The 300 Spartans are defined by their stand against the Persian Empire. David is only remembered because of his conflict with Goliath. Buffy would be unknown without the vampires.

Many consumer products are sold by fighting previously unknown enemies that were glorified by the marketing campaigns. EG. morning breath, dandruff, ring around the collar...

Present Yourself as the Alternative

Avis could not defeat Hertz, the market leader in the car rental business so they defined themselves by the phrase, "We try harder."

With the taste tests Pepsi defined themselves as the alternative to Coke. It worked so well that it unnerved Coke into blinking and bumbling with New Coke.

Make Fun of the Enemy

With its clever TV ads, (Hello, I'm a Mac. I'm a PC) Apple positioned itself as the alternative to the market leader, Microsoft based computers.

A local plumbing company positioned themselves as fighting clogged drains. The owners of the business made their enemy more formidable by posing for photos with clothes-pins on their noses.

People love conflict. It's entertaining, memorable and often vivid. Sometimes it can be funny. That's why the "reality TV" shows are so popular.

If you want to be better noticed and remembered - pick a colorful enemy and start a fight. Only start one that you can win.

George Torok
Power Marketing

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