How to mop the floor with your brand’s worst enemy

Chief Creative Officer

I don’t know about you, but Jillian and I burn through new cleaning ladies at the rate of nearly one every six months.

I’m not saying we dissolve their remains in the bathtub they just finished scouring. We just can’t seem to find one worth keeping around. 

It wasn’t the cleaning, but the baggage they all brought that put us off.

First, there was Dasha—a woman so frail and wizened, she looked as if a sea turtle had beached itself, ditched the shell and decided to make a go of it on land.

Everything was OK until she left a pamphlet behind that suggested our need for spiritual cleansing as well.

And with that first sign of manger danger, she was out.

Then came New Dasha. And since she was a referral from a friend, I pledged to give it my all. 

But as I often do with service professionals, I try too hard to speak their language and fail to stick the landing. Like when I shared a cleaning tip for removing stubborn coffee stains from inside a stainless-steel carafe (hit reply for my secret). While doing so, I gestured to my fancy Italian coffee maker as if to say, “Scrub enough toilets and you too can pamper yourself with such extravagances.”

(Who says I can’t do casual Friday?)

My accidental behavior aside, New Dasha wasn’t working out anyway.

You always knew when she had finished—not from the gleaming countertops and appliances, but from the empty coffee cups and spent cigarette butts littering our patio. Some days, I didn’t know if she was there to clean or stake out an abandoned warehouse.

By the time you read this, we’ll be onto Dasha 3.0, who starts in a few days.

She won us over immediately.

A real chatterbox, this one. So much so that I hoped she wouldn’t ask to be paid by the word. Or worse—by the tattoo.

Looking back, she didn’t do much to sell herself. She didn’t have to. Because we consumed so much oxygen complaining about our previous cleaners, she simply let the presence of an eager and personable newcomer seal the arrangement.

Viewed beside the others, Dasha 3.0 appeared to be the best of the bunch. So, she got the job.

That’s the power of contrast. And if you have an opportunity to use it in your marketing, it’s a compelling way to show your superiority over your competition.

If you remember the old “Mac vs. PC” ads, you saw how Apple used contrast to communicate its advantages over Microsoft in both functionality and coolness. And because they weren’t misleading, disparaging, or untruthful, Apple could get away with it.

But you don’t need to call out your competitor by name to use comparative advertising to your advantage.

You can pick a fight with any force opposing your brand. Like …

Fast vs. Slow

Healthy vs. Unhealthy

Caring vs. Uncaring

Life with vs. Life without

Or go to war with yourself …

Once you know your prospect is interested, your next step is to build their desire until it outweighs any feelings preventing them from buying. 

Finding your brand’s enemy and building a story around it can bring your product’s advantages into a sharper view for your audience. And as you can see from those few examples, contrast takes just seconds to work. So, your prospect can see that you’re better—faster.

Less thinking for them. More sales for you.

Less thinking for me too since I went heavy on the pictures. Who’s phoning it in now?

Here’s a song to play you out >>> 

See you next time. — Matt

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Chief Creative Officer
Matt is a professional storyteller. That used to be a thinly veiled way to say you still lived with your parents. But the truth is stories have existed since the dawn of humanity and they still have the power to move people, even if it’s no longer from the path of a charging mammoth. Throughout his career on both the agency and client sides, Matt’s work has been known to compel audiences to indulge in higher thread counts, abandon Lenten sacrifice, or move to the suburbs. He’ll even conjugate a noun if he has to. The bottom line: Matt is our agency twofer. Strategy and Creative. The Big Idea and Stealth Deployment. He’s a single expense yielding a dual return. And who doesn’t love a bargain?

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