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Can Your Negative Actually Be Your Positive

Once consumers have perceptions about you or your business, positive or negative, changing those perceptions can be a monumental task.

A marketing consultant we work with to help our advertisers get better results, suggests that consumers are stubborn and difficult to change, but he offers this strategy.

“Rather than trying to change your prospects’ minds, learn what they think about you and use that image as ‘your natural ace’. Don’t try to change the hand you’ve been dealt. Look for ways to play that hand and win”, he suggests.

As an example, our consultant tells of an actual incident when he was challenged to help a Canadian fibreglass helmet manufacturer market a new line of motorcycle helmets in the U.S.

The well-planned launch of their U.S. marketing drive began with an introduction to sporting goods retailers at the largest sporting goods trade show in Chicago. But much to the manufacturer’s dismay, and in spite of their expensive exhibit and discount pricing, the retailers at the show had little or no interest in the Canadian company’s motorcycle helmets.

While strolling through the trade show, two retailers were heard joking about the Canadian fibreglass company.

One of the retailers asked the other, “Did you see those Canadians trying to sell motorcycle helmets?” The other laughed and said, “Yes. What the heck does someone who lives in an igloo know about motorcycle helmets?”.

This was a eureka moment. Although the manufacturer returned to Canada at the end of the show with no orders, he had uncovered the natural ace that would make them overwhelmingly successful the following year.

Their prospects’ perceptions were that Canada was a cold and frozen north. The following year the company returned to the Chicago show selling snowmobile helmets instead of motorcycle helmets. They had to add to their production line to handle the flurry of orders!

You see, it doesn’t matter what YOU think you’re good at. All that matters is what your prospects and customers will believe you are good at! In marketing, perception becomes reality.

Marketing guru Roy Williams puts it best when he says, “The business owner is uniquely unqualified to see his company or his product objectively. He is on the inside looking out, trying to describe himself to a person on the outside looking in. It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle”.

Do you need someone on the outside to help you read the customer perceptions of your label?