I miss my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. I stopped training at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. BJJ challenges the body, mind, and spirit. It stretches me in all three dimensions each time I take to the mat.
One of the learnings is that there is a counter for everything. If a BJJ player can’t counter an opponent’s technique, then that BJJ player hasn’t learned the counter, isn’t quick enough to counter, or isn’t capable of executing the counter due to a lack of experience.
While it is infinitely better to counter before your opponent gets too far into his technique, there are still layers of counters that may be employed to escape or turn the tables on your opponent. It’s a lot like chess; however, it’s played on the mat.
Marketing has its counters to competitive actions. Last week I wrote about Listerine’s use of a “marketing mirror.” You’ll recall that a marketing mirror is an action (appeal to the senses) that capitalizes on a target customer’s beliefs and perceptions. In Listerine’s case, the target customer believed that for medicine to be effective, it had to taste like medicine (i.e., “crummy”). Thus, the campaign. “(Listerine.) The Taste People Hate. Twice a day.”
My dear friend and colleague (if he’ll allow me to refer to him thus), Bill Weintraub, sent me a reply to my Marketing Matters article, Making Use of Marketing Mirrors. He stated, “Enjoyed this trip down memory lane when I was (the) brand manager on Scope.” Scope mouthwash did not have the intense, medicinal taste of Listerine. Instead, Scope left your mouth feeling fresh and clean.
So, how do you counter and overcome the Listerine brand’s use of its medicinal taste as a marketing mirror? Well, Bill shared one of many commercials he ran for Scope to counter Listerine. “Scope fights bad breath. Scope doesn’t give medicine breath.” You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KxWHDa7jxQ
For every action from a competitor, there’s a counter. In the case of Scope countering Listerine, it’s creating or feeding a perception that “medicine” breath is not much of an improvement over bad breath.
It takes insight, know-how, and a creative response to counter competitive actions. A successful counter is an agile-response appropriate to the situation. It is not a knee-jerk reaction!
In BJJ, if you cannot counter your opponent, you tap-out before sustaining an injury from a submission (e.g., choke or joint-lock). At my age and limited level of BJJ experience, I tap-out early and often on the mat. However, with my marketing experience level, I can counter and turn the tides on any and all competitive threats against my brand. You can learn to do the same.
What competitive action or, for that matter, marketplace dynamic is hurting your brand’s ability to grow? Identify it and then create an appropriate counter to neutralize or turn the tides against it. You can and must do it to best your competition!
Anticipate and avoid critical marketing errors. Don’t make errors that help cede advantages to competitors. Read AVOIDING CRITICAL MARKETING ERRORS: How to Go from Dumb to Smart Marketing. Learn more here: http://bdn-intl.com/avoiding-critical-marketing-errors
Stay SAFE, and be well.
Peace and best wishes,