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Ok, let’s be honest…

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Addressing the competition is hard.

Sometimes it’s the fear of legal issues, sometimes it’s the fear of them getting back at you.

Other times it’s just “not wanting to look like the aggressive brand”.

That’s why I like it when clients trust your approach and insight.

Because you need insight and an outside perspective a lot of the times, to do this right.

But what if your features or your service are not better? What if you are a small fish in a big ocean of huge whales?

When all else fails, you gotta be honest.

Honesty and transparency work wonders when it comes to addressing the competition in a subtler, more nuanced way.

In part it’s because of the “Pratfall effect”.

Studied in the 60s, it simply states that “people who are considered highly competent are found to be more likeable when they perform an everyday blunder than those who don’t.”

When you lay your shortcomings out for everybody to see, you stand out. Mostly because everybody else is probably too busy shouting how great they are.

Result? More and more consumers become skeptics.

Another reason why being honest is good?

Big lesson I learned from Steven Spielberg’s documentary…

When he was shooting scenes for “Jaws”, the mechanical shark broke. They needed to do something to keep going without it. So Spielberg came up with the brilliant idea of having the shark drag a yellow plastic barrel with a cord around. You can only see the barrel being moved on the surface of the water, but that freaks you out. In your mind you know where the shark is.

Point is, as Spielberg says: “What you don’t see is generally scarier than what you do see”.

In other words, people can smell fishy (pun intended) stuff a mile away. And most of the times it’s better to be upfront about it.

How you do it is another matter though.

I mentioned that you need to get an outside perspective, because you can only find the insight you need in your market. Only then you can “confess” your weaknesses in a way that resonates deeper.

That’s where you start seeing themes emerging, stuff that the majority of your prospects think, but rarely see mirrored for them.

Example: my client was in a pretty shady field, but their product was legit.

All competitors used a the same value proposition. To me as an outsider it felt overused, and speaking with real customers I quickly learned how they all thought the same. They didn’t believe any of those claims!

So what we did with my client, was to address that. We clearly stated that everybody was saying the same thing, but we actually cared about doing things differently (and better).

Result? Instant credibility and trust.

But as with most of these things, you have to do the hard work.

Get in touch if you need help.

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Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

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