In our opinion, the biggest mistake brands now make is neglecting to define their antagonist, their enemy, what they stand against. That’s where the creative and cultural tension comes from. That’s where marketers can make a stand. That’s where brands can break through the clutter of today’s marketing landscape and actually get noticed.
Think of the classic storytelling convention. Every story needs a villain. Why? Because without one, nothing happens. There would be no tension, no conflict, and, ultimately, no interest. Every story, every brand needs an enemy.
Enemies are not just competitors, although they can be. More often, they’re ideals that separate you from the competition. Staying at your resort results in better human connections and relationships rather than isolation and reading a good book all week.
Too many brands fall prey to what we like to call the “world peace” trap − they choose to stand for something totally benign and utterly unobjectionable, therefore something total generic and boring. It’s not being negative, we had enough of that this past election season. But knowing your enemy doesn’t mean being mean and negative. Most of you are simply too nice. Too traditional. Too timid.
In other words, if you’re truly standing up for something, then you must, by definition, also be standing up against something.