Have You Thought About Taking A Walk On The Wild Side?
by Fred Horstman
October 21, 2013
Having a little trouble grabbing some attention for your products? Well, have you considered that you may be playing it too safe to be noticeable. Let’s face it, people who get attention aren’t typically the shy and unadorned kind, they are the more extroverted and rambunctious crowd. So, is your product too serious and quiet to really go after the traffic on the web and generate genuine interest and enthusiasm? Well, then you might want to think about taking a walk on the wild side.
If you find yourself shying away from controversy, this is one area you genuinely need to explore. It doesn’t even have to be your own created controversy, it can be someone else’s controversy, and all you’re doing is adding to the conversation. For instance, way back when eBay first came out with it’s policy to not allow infoproducts on their auction listings unless sellers delivered a physical product, like a CD or DVD, it generated a huge controversy around the Internet.
While others where moaning about the collapse of their business models, there were sharper business people who exploited the opportunity to get some free publicity by offering products to help sellers transform their business model so they could continue to sell on eBay. No matter what side you were on, whether it was a bad or a good policy, the fact is that the amount of controversy that it produced provided a perfect opportunity to ride a wave of free publicity, if you can help people overcome some of their issues. This is what good marketing is about, helping people.
Walk A Fine Line
So, yes, you do want to constantly look out for opportunities that come with issues of great controversy. They typically have a short window, but during that window, you can get instant product and name recognition, if you play your cards right. What you don’t want to do is align yourself with one side or another and alienate half your customers. There is a fine line you must walk if you dare to walk on the wild side. You want to engage the controversy, but you don’t want your name associated with negatives of the entire thing, either. And, certainly there are some controversies that are simply too hot to handle.
Don’t Burn Yourself Out
Unless you are Planned Parenthood, the odds of a classic online business wanting to engage in an abortion controversy is almost non-existent. It’s just a controversy that is extremely volatile and can end up burning people out instead of creating enthusiasm and genuine interest in the topic. So, engage in controversies that are interesting, have some vitality, but avoid the ones that are going to cause problems for your public image or alienate too many of your customers. If you do find that you’ve inadvertently done that by accident, retract your support immediately, issue an apology to all your customers, regardless of the issue, and move on. So, it does take a bit of daring to engage in controversy, but the strategy can strengthen your business overnight, if done properly. If you do that, you can take a walk on the wild side, and learn how to position your products to profit with a wave of free publicity.
- What Happens When CEOs Take a Controversial Stand? (business2community.com)