Clearly communicating your brand is more crucial than ever. Your brand is more than a logo, typeface and Pantone chart. Your brand is what your customers buy into.

With the marketing landscape becoming more saturated than ever, it’s imperative for brands to position themselves effectively.

While it’s commonplace to focus on the best bits of your business, some market leaders are shaking up their communications by using negative messages about their products or services to make memorable promotions.

Facebook making change

Social media giant Facebook was the first to focus on negativity with its ‘Here Together’ campaign which debuted earlier this year. The advert centres on Facebook’s commitment to protecting its users’ privacy.

Facebook has come under massive public scrutiny over fake news scandals and misinformation in recent months. First came revelations that its platform was used to spread Russian propaganda and fake news in the 2016 presidential election. Then, there was the revelation that political research firm Cambridge Analytica misappropriated as many as 87 million users’ data – a scandal that sparked broader criticism of the company’s privacy practices and led to intense regulatory scrutiny.

So, Facebook took the bull by the horns, directly addressing its wrongdoings by promising to change in a worldwide campaign.

The minute-long ad starts with a look back at Facebook’s older interface and tries to humanise what we do on the network by connecting posts back to real people. Then it alludes to what went wrong, before promising that change is coming.

Three making marketing fun

And Facebook isn’t the only one concentrating on negatives in its advertising. Another of our personal favourites is by mobile network, Three.

Their #PhonesAreGood campaign pokes fun at mobile phones being bad by focusing on all the terrible things that have ever happened in history and how they could have been easily prevented if mobiles were around back then, including the Titanic avoiding an iceberg and Henry VIII’s wives being saved from execution thanks to Tinder.

While extensive mobile phone usage is commonly linked to mental health and wellbeing issues, Three has taken a step back in time to show just how convenient these devices, and associated apps, are.

By aiming to alleviate the guilt many feel while enjoying their smartphones, Three has managed to position itself well above competitors such as O2, Vodaphone and EE.

When the message is bad, it can still be good

In marketing, the traditional approach is all about making it clear to your target customer what you stand for. But there is an alternative method that calls for playing the angles and positioning against something or someone that the target customer already dislikes. By taking an ‘enemy’, a brand can position itself clearly on what it stands for, grabbing attention quicker and is more persuasive than trying to state it directly.

This approach still focuses on what the customer wants. But to communicate the message we pick out a negative or specific competitor and position the brand against it as overtly and aggressively as possible in order to highlight our benefits by way of comparison – it sounds odd, but it works!

So, even a bad message can be good. When a brand is confident enough to turn negatives into a positive, ‘bad’ messaging can really work.

Good or bad, Purpose Media can help you get your message right.

Your brand is what your customers buy into. It’s time to sell them something other than your services. Sell them your brand.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you level up your communications and create a bad-ass brand message.

Let's get started.

Posted by Rachel Gascoigne