#63 Controversy as a strategy

Positioning and differentiation are tried-and-true CREATIVE advertising strategies. I can tell you how changing positioning strategies meant making millions for many clients I’ve served. It changed them from confusing to understandable. Positioning is an idea that’s been in existence since 1980 and now taught in every business course in the world.

That doesn’t mean getting noticed and being remarkable isn’t important. Some authors attempt controversy and argument about semantics for the sake of it.

There is an observation about “controversy” as a strategy. It’s endorsed by many professional copywriters. The idea is if you choose to do safe, no-risk advertising you will never upset anyone and you might get the attention of a small fraction of the market.

But if you choose to cause a ruckus and be controversial, you’ll probably alienate 50% of the audience. The other 50% will likely become avid fans. Instead of a mere 5% noticing you, you get 50% followers and 50% haters. That is a risk, of course, since you could alienate 100% of your audience.

Authors try to get us riled up by discrediting “the old way” of thinking. Really it’s the same old stuff. But 50% will be hard-core fans. Positioning is in the “mind” of the buyer. Remarkable is the “eye” of the buyer. Aren’t these both intangible or abstractions?

The real proof is how people vote with their dollars.