Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Brand X Problem

As far back as I can remember, I hated the old "Brand X comparison".  At least in the really old days advertisers referred discretely to a "Brand X".  Nowadays they name names.  In these "tests" the advertised product was deemed the better choice because Brand X was inferior, disliked, or whatever.  Very rarely did the product that "beat" Brand X tout its own particular merits.  And it goes without saying that the test was unfair---overlooking all of the advertised brand's particular weaknesses.

The result is a very dissatisfying piece of marketing.  The advertiser essentially defines his/her product or service in relationship to a competitor.  "We're just like Brand X, only better" does not help one's brand equity.

Your product or service has a perfectly legitimate story to tell on its own.  It was developed to fill an empty niche, or reflected a particular passion, or had a unique quality.  That ought to be the core of the marketing.  As far as the competitor goes, leave them out.  And, in fact, if they are advertising against you, that's not a huge problem: they're giving you some free top of mind awareness which can go positive for you if they are hiding weaknesses behind the comparison.

I thin consumers respond well to selling on the merits.  Have the confidence to talk about the merits.  Let's get rid of the whole Brand X thing once and for all.

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