Andy Pilkington's recent articles
Attempting to dirty a competitor's reputation risks backfiring
WaveMetrix analysis suggests that attempting to emphasise a competitor's weakness may have the opposite effect. Instead of agreeing, consumers tend to voice issues with the original brand and flock to the support of its rival.
Many brands no longer just emphasise why they are the best, but also why their competitors are the worst. In the following examples, Pepsi, Microsoft and T-Mobile attempted to dirty the reputation of their competitors, namely Coke, Google and Verizon. While Pepsi and T-Mobile indulged in a specific campaign, Microsoft leaked an internal advert which besmirched the Gmail service. With creatives and material broadcast via social media, consumer reaction now comes quicker and more ferociously than ever before.
- Directly comparing brands risks forming a hotbed for disgruntled customers: All three brands received significant amounts of negativity following the direct comparison against a competitor. While Pepsi fared slightly better, brands with more potential for unhappy customers received very high levels of negativity
- Far from driving further negativity around a competitor, making active comparisons can stimulate competitor fans to vehemently defend the rival brand: Consequently, instead of dirtying a rival’s reputation, such direct comparisons can often have the opposite effect and leave the competitor in a stronger position