Is there an aspect of your brand that is viewed negatively by consumers? If so, it’s quite possible that your brand negative could be repositioned or recommunicated to become a brand positive. Remember, much of branding and marketing is about consumer perception. How do consumers perceive your brand, and what is its position in the marketplace relative to other brands? By massaging consumer perception, you can turn threats into opportunities.
Take a brand like Listerine for example. Listerine has battled a negative brand image as a mouthwash with a terrible taste since the day it arrived on the market. In fact, the taste is so awful and the mouthwash is so strong that people have difficulty rinsing for the required 30 seconds recommended on the Listerine label.
Listerine is branded as an “antiseptic mouthwash” equating it to a product like peroxide or rubbing alcohol in the minds of consumers. There is nothing refreshing about “antiseptic mouthwash”. However, Listerine stood strong as the brand that truly cleans your mouth, rather than just masking bad breath with a minty scent like other mouthwash brands do. Listerine found it’s position in the marketplace and the marketing team behind the brand played on that perception, creating a consumer perception that told consumers to have a bacteria-free, clean mouth, you need to use Listerine. A few years ago, Listerine even launched a complete ad campaign that focused on users making it through the tough 30-second Listerine rinse twice a day and reaping the rewards of their efforts.
Another example comes from Volvo, a brand known less for style and more for safety but still having a hefty price tag. There was even reference to the unstylish appearance of Volvos in a 1990 movie starring Dudley Moore called Crazy People where a group of mental hospital patients began creating honest ad campaigns, including one for Volvo that used the tagline, “Volvo: Boxy but Good.” Of course, Volvo has made changes to the appearance of its cars in recent years, but the brand still remains positioned as the safe alternative to more trendy or stylish brands such as BMW or Lexus.
Bottom line, don’t think you need to hide the negative aspects of your brand. Instead, think about how you can turn those brand negatives into brand positives. Find opportunities where you once saw roadblocks.
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