Your Story has Two Faces


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You get more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar…

That’s a very powerful rule for marketing – in any industry.

Yet we so often forget the power of the positive spin as we get stuck in the gravity of shock and awe thinking. Ask yourself:

  1. How many of your promotions are based on fear or loss?
  2. How often do your messages focus on eliminating a negative?
  3. When was the last time you said something nice about a competitor?

Every story has multiple faces….some enticing, some threatening. When we choose the threatening aspect of a story, we risk alienating our audience. Who wants to hear about scary things they’re doing? Would you???

Here’s an example.

A company is selling to a technical buyer. Their offering empowers their buyers to change the way they do things, increasing their productivity and giving them more options than ever before. Their offering also reduces the vendor lock in we so often see in technology products. In fact, they offered the most options for flexibility and vendor freedom in their markets. That’s a cool thing.

Because of that strong story, this company’s main message focused on never ever again being locked into a vendor, with all kinds of scary stories about the negative impacts of vendor lock in. It was a good story – but was it drawing their audience to learn more, compelling them to buy? Not really.

Flip it Good

We flipped the story to offer the positive upside instead of threatening with the negative side. Instead of vendor lock in – we focused on customer freedom and flexibility.

Guess what happened? Yep, you got it. Customers responded positively to the positive offer.

Think about this in your own personal buying. Do you want to work with the vendor who tries to scare you, makes you feel bad about what you’re doing, tells you bad things about their competitors?

Or do you want to work with the vendor who points out the upside, makes you feel like you can be a winner, who tells you the truth about what their competitors can do well. They sound pretty fair, dont’ they?

People Like Positive

That piece of human behavior offers a key opportunity for marketers, when we take advantage of it. Focusing on the positive, the opportunity, the upside is a great way to create stories that inspire our audiences and compel them to learn more about us. Just make sure it’s true – don’t stretch or you’ll end up overstating and lose credibility. Focus on the real upside, and all it’s value.

Doing our best imitation of Eyore and spreading the doom and gloom, or the famous Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) is gravity thinking. It may have worked in some of yesterday’s markets. But for today’s Digitally Empowered Buyer – it’s a turnoff.

People will naturally gravitate to the positive when we’re given the option. Whether it’s the offer from a vendor or the way a vendor chats about their competitors – dissing and negative is a turn off.

So why use the stick in your marketing? Go for the carrot!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


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