‘Welcome to Brandopia!
‘We’re three OK designers who hired a suit to win us business. We say we’re full-service by listing freelancers on our team page, and we drifted into FMCG specialisation by winning one big client who stuck with us.’
Sounds weird, right? But according to marketing expert Richard Shotton, it might work – because the ‘pratfall effect’ makes us favour underdogs, or those who make mistakes.
Few big brands use it, because owners/shareholders see it as a risk. But those who do can win big – like Avis (‘When you’re #2, you try harder’).
So why don’t marketers brand themselves this way?
A lot of the time, marketers are selling themselves as much as their services. So they encourage a cult of personality around their business, claiming superior skills or unique knowledge, sometimes through proprietary processes or philosophies that nobody else has.
Clients buy in because they want sure answers, as well as a knowledgeable friend or mentor outside their own organisation.
Instead of presenting ourselves as infallible oracles, maybe we should admit that there’s no certainty to what we do; no one right answer. We contend with luck and failure just like our clients. But we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and work hard nonetheless.
As well as being honest, it might actually work.