The Road AheadGain creditability, be honest [Archives:2003/654/Business & Economy]

July 28 2003

Raidan Al-Saqqaf
They say, Admit a negative and the prospect will give you a positive, this is true, and what is also true is give a negative and the prospect will think it is a positive, especially in marketing.
Because in marketing, even though admitting a negative is against the nature of what marketing is, however, each negative statement a marketing person says adds sincerity and will instantly be accepted as truth, so this marketing person is trustworthy, not only that, but it also transfers the customer into a state of positive thinking about the product, because positive statements, especially when published in an advertisement, arouse doubt on part of the customers prospect, because a negative statement doesn't need to be proved.
For example, the tag line of a car is “the best 4X4 money can buy”, many people will reply “there is always better”, however, a tagline saying “the ugliest jeep on the planet”, I suspect any reaction of doubt for this ad, yet it can excite more interest or have the audience perceive something else about the car, for example its toughness, its good value, etc.
However, most companies prefer not to point out their negatives but try to cover them up, but on the other hand, they can make great use of exposing these negative points, but this needs very good skills.
First of all, these negatives have to be perceived as negatives widely in the public, for example that Chinese products are of relatively poor quality compared to German products; you must create a strategy that exposes this negative and makes the prospect agree with it directly, and not to confuse him about the products.
Then, you must shift quickly to the positive side, because by admitting the negative, the prospect will agree with you then listen to whatever else you have to say for example, the tagline “We are not the best, so we try harder” or “double the price, triple the value”
In spite of all, take note that the purpose of such a strategy is not to apologise, but to make the audience agree with you and trust you, because after all, honesty is the best policy, and customers are not stupid, but you can use this to attract their attention.
Endnote: Be honest with your audience, point out the negatives and improve your creditability, it is what really counts.