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Good and bad is still alive in marketing

When I think back to when I was a teenager, a lot of TV shows had this very clear distinction between good and bad. Today, it has become hard to find a great show that’s like that. Good is never all good, bad is never all bad. Today’s heroes are torn apart by inner conflicts and their darker sides. In fact, often it’s even hard to say whether there’s good or bad at all.

In a way, you might argue that this is what makes heroes heroic in the first place. It is by overcoming their fears and shortcomings and taking responsibility for their cause that they change the world. So, while we still do have heroes, we don’t have good and bad as we used to.

Except in marketing. Many marketers still act as if it’s us vs. them, good vs. bad. In particular, they act as if they are all good and the competition is all bad.

Which – obviously – is not true and everyone, including themselves, knows it. So they try hard to persuade us. To make us believe that they are the good ones. They will shine the brightest light upon themselves, praise their good sides and hide their dark sides.

And in doing so they overlook the fact that the world has moved on. That it’s precisely the rough edges that we admire in our heroes. We admire them because they are like us – imperfect and vulnerable.

Stories help us to convey this mixture of emotions and this is why so many brands have embraced storytelling. Stories make a brand relatable. They make a speaker one of us. We feel with her.

And because we do, we fall in love with what she stands for and what she brings into our life. It is one of the reasons why we buy from her. Because we see how her story matches ours. How our life improves because of their products.

Not because it is all good but because it matches who we are.

How do you relate to the life of your audience?

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