Supercharge Your Benefits with Contrast Storytelling

Supercharge Your Benefits with Contrast Storytelling

Reader Comments (11)

  1. Hi, I’ve instinctively used this technique before, just to be told by my client that they don’t want to start their message on a negative note. How do I convince them to look past this unfounded “fear”?

    • They need to better understand human psychology. This technique is used all the time in sales. For example, Realtors will often show one or two undesirable listings before showing the home they think is actually a good fit for the buyer. The contrast with the initial homes makes the “good” listing even more attractive.

    • I worked on Madison Avenue for many years. From my experience, it’s the so-called challenger brands that are comfortable using a negative story to frame their solution. They were the most rewarding clients to work for. But challenger brands need to be found because not everyone wants to do it that way.

      Brand leaders, or maybe even companies that believe themselves to be, are generally reluctant to tell stories with a negative angle. Sometimes it works out for them. Brand leaders tend to have advantages in other areas that marketing, and sometimes can get by with a more bland message. Often, these brands are socially connected in their industry and don’t want to step on any toes.

      StudioPress Sites seems to fall into the challenger brand camp. It’s entered a crowded market. The video was excellent in framing a negative in a friendly, enlightening way.

      • That’s a good point. Although given that our audience is mostly SMBs, I’m guessing most here are almost always the challenger in some sense. Even if it just boils down to unique positioning in a “me too” environment.

        • Definitely. We’re all challenging something with a good small business idea. I was mainly addressing Elane’s issue.

          Most every client should embrace this approach, however, given that some can’t allow themselves to stand out in this way could spur an agency or services provider to seek other clients who will. Turning a conservative client into a challenger brand is difficult. Educating can take time you don’t have, can’t bill for, and not change the situation.

      • So does Chris get a pony now???

        BTW Martin Conroy, the writer of that letter, used that “these two individuals” narrative flow that had been around before he “invented” it again, but his narrative was brilliantly implemented and produced an unbelievable result of course (more than $2,000,000,000 over almost twenty years!). So I love that you revived it here … Nice!

    • I’m not sure I understand your question. You can tell this kind of story on a sales page, in a blog post, to your email subscribers, or in a video like I did above. Did you watch it?

  2. The video was obviously crafted by someone who knows stuff. It doesn’t start with fear and failure. Anne is doing well and Ethan isn’t. How can this be? Tell me more. We see their stories and the hero wins. Poor Ethan. He tries so hard, but he’s just not making good decisions. See how happy Anne is? It’s a screenplay in a few minutes. An elevator pitch. It doesn’t beat you over the head with the usual “do you want this girl? Do you want this car?” (even though I love some of those). By the end, you see the possibilities.

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