The Negative Continuum.


The What’s The Idea? brand strategy framework is simple, 1 claim and 3 proof planks. To get there, the discovery process searches out consumer “care-abouts” and brand “good-ats.”  While exploring these things I’m always looking for positive ways to build strategic values.  For instance, a client launching a healthier-for-you cookie made with all natural ingredients, faced a category perception that products of this nature are often dry with harsh mouth feel. A negative. The brand plan made “moisture” a plank. A positive.

Leveraging negatives is a common marketing practice. But in branding, it’s all about the positives.

On the negative side of the ledger there is actually a continuum.  From most to least strenuous it includes: hatred, anger, annoyance, nuisance, irritation, and dissatisfaction.

When going positive, it’s important to have a sense of where on the continuum consumers lie when evaluating competitor or category negatives. Are dry natural cookies an annoyance or a nuisance? Then when promoting the moist nature of your cookie, you mete your response proportionately.

Today’s newspaper says the negative ads against Donald Trump are in record breaking territory, with $70M spent by fellow republicans alone. I wonder if they are using the negative continuum?