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How Manufacturers Thrive On Being The Reverse

How brands live from being the opposite

It doesn't take an election year to focus on the fact that you have to stand up for something. In the US, nothing stiffens a Democrat's resolve than a Republican telling them they are wrong. And vice versa. The hypothetical line is drawn and you have to choose one side or the other.

But trolls and haters pop up everywhere and come in many forms – from the famous clouds of dust between Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds to more conceptual terms like essential versus non-essential, environmentalist versus polluter, woke up to social injustice, agile versus waterfall.

As humans, we enjoy rivals. The concepts of “pagans”, “unbelievers” and the archetypal stranger seem to be elementary parts of our psyche. Our brains are a complex creature, and we may need the contrapuntal rhythm of oppositional thoughts.

Many of these antagonists are so ingrained that all you have to do is mention one and your mind will automatically jump to the opposite.

Angel Devil

Yankees: Red Sox

#BlackLivesMatter: Racists

Sports rivalries are modern examples of the mythical "other".

Learn from the other side

In the age of social media, the existence of trolls and haters is a given. If you get attention, someone else will push back. It's best to have some strategies on hand.

"Don't fear your haters, embrace them," suggests social media strategist Martina Skangalova. “Every troll or hater gives you a helpful insight into how you or your product / service can be perceived. If you can get in touch, be grateful and ask for further feedback. If the comment is irrational and more likely to help the troll reduce stress, you can either a) joke or b) just fail to focus on it. Each comment will help you reach out to and help more people. "

There are other ways to play it.

As President Trump proves with every tweet, shared belief builds audiences. When Trump pokes on Twitter, his firing from teenage mean girls banter, fake news and, some believe, hyperbolic lies are supposed to stroke his audience and make everyone else shake their heads.

New Yorkers know that Trump learned how to stir up news bites in the 1980s when he and real estate entrepreneur Leona Helmsley argued every day to be featured on page 6 of the New York Post. Today his contact point is the Twitter button "Reply".

Our culture is rich in contrasts and anyone who has lived a life outside of the cave has been marinated in the polarized nicknames Fox News, MSNBC, Twitter and the streaming forums.

The battles produced some clever moves.

  • The term “proud boys”, originally a faction of gay men, was recently picked up by ultra-nationalist right-wing radicals. In response, gay men hijacked the ultra-light Proud Boys' Twitter hashtag with messages of love and gay pride.
  • Vote for Breonna Taylor signs are posted on lawns urging voters to vote for victims of police brutality.
  • Patagonia recently reproduced one of founder Yvon Chouinard's favorite expressions and put it on a fashion label. (Tune the A $$ holes)
  • One of the New York Times' favorite word games, Spelling Bee, lets gamers decipher the word "dictator" this week and subtly remind people of the vote.

Rivalries can backfire. In the 1980s, American consumers faced a series of imaginary marketing wars. There were the so-called "Cola Wars" (Coke versus Pepsi), the Burger Wars (McDonald & # 39; s versus Burger King) and a street war in which domestic US automakers competed against imports (General Motors and Ford versus Toyota, VW, Honda).

  • The fighting ended when war-weary consumers switched from burgers to tacos and pizza.
  • Colas gave up its lawn when consumer tastes shifted to Red Bull, frappuccinos and water in all its flavors.
  • Toyota became the best-selling automaker in the world.

Define your opposite

Realizing what you are not creates new markets, new behaviors, new thinking.

Allison McGuire, who once developed an app that alerted young women to walking in sketchy areas of Washington DC and Manhattan, is now turning the script around. McGuire uses her experience to help others and thinks about how negativity can be turned into positivism. Haters will hate, she admits, but what if criticism turns into trust? Turn hater speech into a rhetorical opportunity to express your strength.

Here's something interesting. Trapped in your own marketing maze can help you find out what you are not and never want to become. Knowing where your business will never go can lead you in a direction that you can go.

Last thing. Sometimes you can be the unbeliever. At a marketing hoedown, the stakeholders of a technology company were asked: Who didn't believe in what they were doing? Several employees raised their hands. They identified themselves as infidels – a few mergers and dropouts of new products had polluted their culture and they couldn't explain why they came to work in the morning. (They eventually got back on track by identifying their point zero, and then regrouped from there.)

A little self-loathing can turn out to be positive at times. Sometimes it helps to be your own troll.

Contribution to the Branding Strategy Insider by: Patrick Hanlon, author of Primal Branding

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