• 2018-06-26


How reckless are you feeling today?

Ready to risk a little intellectual danger in the pursuit of clarity and truth in marketing? 

See if you can answer this skill-testing question.


Think about it.  Out of the 10 people who come into contact with your brand and reputation each day - on-line or off - how many are immediately repulsed and want nothing to do with you?  If the answer is zero, does that automatically mean the other 10 people are head-over-heels, madly, deeply in love with your brand?  Is your brand like a 100-dollar bill lying on a sidewalk that will be eagerly snatched up by each of those 10 passers-by? Or do the majority of those 10 people fall somewhere in the middle? 

They may not be passionately in love, but they don't hate you either.  For the most part they're indifferent and could go either way.  Have you ever thought about what might happen if you forced people to choose sides? Especially if you are running a business where you want customers banging down the door to get in. What if you made a bold declaration that inspired a good number of people to LOVE what you do, knowing full well that others will be turned away?  Who knows, they may even HATE your guts.  If you dare to read further, you might want to slip on a bulletproof vest over your business attire.   Brace yourself for THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS BLOG on this edition of The Reinvention Chronicles.  

The Law of Magnetic Polarity has been telling us since the 1700's that everything is dual and has polar opposites. While certain things may appear to be opposites, in reality, they are two extremes of the same thing. Burning heat and bone-chilling cold appear to be opposite, but in truth, they are just varying degrees of temperature. The same logic applies to peace and war, light and dark, liberal and conservative, masculine and feminine, north and south, yin and yang, The Beatles and The Stones. 

In the matter of marketing and branding, the polar opposites that touch human hearts are LOVE and HATE.

In other words, if you are deadly serious about having current and future customers fall deeply in LOVE with you and your brand, you need to be willing to push some others away.  For any brand to be truly effective and magnetically attract real customers your way, it must display the power and properties of a real magnet and its proven ability to attract - which is always equalled by its power to repel.  Consequently, your marketing efforts can always benefit from having a bolder, braver point of view.  There needs to be something about your brand messaging that indicates you are willing to plant a flag on top of a mountain of values you would die for.  

Even at the risk of offending potential customers.

Let's suppose for a moment that you are a small business owner who wants to jump into the deep end of the pool and swim with the big boys. But, you face some major obstacles like the lack of a huge marketing budget to make a big splash. And, for the sake of argument, let's suppose you are based in a small Canadian town; selling a product that is readily available pretty much anywhere else at much lower prices.Outspending your competition is not an option.But, there is no law that say you can't Out Message the bastards. If you're a guy like Jeff Alpaugh, you have some dangerous weapons at your disposal. 

A fervent imagination along with complete distribution freedom - thanks to free on-line platforms - to produce content guaranteed to make people choose one way or another if they LOVE you … or HATE you!

A few days before releasing this video, Jeff got some well-intentioned "free advice" that warned him to back off; that he was being a little too extreme in his approach.  Fortunately for Jeff he ignored that suggestion, trusted his gut and pulled the trigger.  But, if he had heeded that advice and marketed himself like everybody else in the shirt business, he could have run an advertisement that sounded like this:

"For the best and latest in casual, fashionable dress shirts look no further than ABC Clothing.com. From solid colors to patterned selections, you'll find an incredible piece to punctuate great style and refresh your everyday look! From slim-fits that lend a modern, professional look, to button-downs, polos or short sleeve button-fronts you can add flair to your workweek and weekend attire - without costing you a fortune! 

These are the types of bland, boiler-plate messages designed to offend no one, but they don't exactly inspire or persuade anyone either.  If you choose to speak in the language of "products, services, features, advantages, benefits", no one will detest you, but don't expect dollops of vanilla to spark the beginnings of any explosive, life-long love affairs either.  The only sure bet in the Customer Lottery is that safe, sanitized "ad-speak" messages are like a death sentence that allow your brand to blend in with the rest of your competitors who also languish in the Zone of Mediocrity; the mushy middle where marketing messages go to die. 

As the hit counts escalate on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube with each passing hour, Jeff Alpaugh is discovering a universal truth about how brand strategy really works. Viewers and readers just like you have thoughts and feelings that carry electromagnetic charges with our strongest magnetic center being the heart.  It is in our hearts - not our heads - where we generate either positive or negative vibrations based on what we're reading, watching or listening to.  For centuries, the best brands in the world have known you don't attract legions of customers by taking a page from the Switzerland playbook and playing it safe.  

Neutrality dooms your brand to a land that no one cares about - one way or the other. Because hearts are never neutral.  

Are you willing to be hated for who you are, rather than be ignored for someone you are not? What would it look like if your brand messaging could stand square in the middle of your emotional truth?

Jeff Alpaugh has the swagger to draw a line in the branding sand. 

Who knows, he might inspire you to feel a little more "dangerous". 

        "There is nothing so difficult or so dangerous as to undertake to change the order of things".   NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI

p.s... Since this whole LOVE/HATE polarity thing has universal application, it is only logical to expect that you can never expect to produce a piece of work or art that will be unanimously admired by everyone. There will always be extremes. In the music business, for example, audience taste can swing anywhere from death metal to traditional gospel to bubble gum pop. The best illustration of polarity in action came late last week when Dana rushed down the stairs with wide eyes exclaiming, "You guys HAVE to watch Paul McCartney!!!  It's the best thing I have seen on the internet in years!".  Dana then went on to say she's not even a Beatles or McCartney fan, but couldn't stop laughing out loud or even wiping back a tear or two. 

Despite more than 16 million views and 377,000 "likes", there are at least 5,500 people who have indicted they dislike the McCartney carpool karaoke video. Not even Sir Paul can please them all. 

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