marca strategy news & views
January 13, 2011
embracing the negatives

often what you think is a negative feature or perception, with honest admission it can actually become a truly positive differentiating factor.

the “think small” campaign by Volkswagen in 1950’s did just that. The campaign focused on a perceived negative of the Volkswagen beetle, its small size. at a time where demand was focused in larger cars for growing families, the compact size of the beetle was viewed as a negative product feature. by acknowledging and embracing this fact, rather than trying to shy away from it or shine the light or other features, Volkswagen managed not only to boost sales but create lifetime brand loyalty.

in 1962 Avis did the same with their “We are number 2 so we try harder” campaign. Avis acknowledge the fact they were number 2 and turned it into a positive. by the way, the ads didn’t even include the Avis logo. this campaign increased Avis market share by threefold in one year.

it may seem risky to embrace a negative perception rather than highlight what the market already perceives as positive attributes, but doing so can truly differentiate your product. It also shows authenticity and honesty and that builds trust and trust builds loyalty. all of the sudden the real risk is in not having the courage to embrace your negative features.


So think about what your negative features are as those may well be syour best features.


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