“We should never disclose a problem. We should only show the positive.”
Sounds logical? Not necessarily. Don’t jump in before looking at the facts.
Many organizations assume that presenting only a positive view or position will provide consistently positive results. However, the odds are against them.
It may be surprising to realize that admitting to a negative or disclosing a problem can actually defuse it and spin it to a positive. It could even result in a successful attribute.
Research proves that we are increasingly becoming a more demanding and cynical society. We mistrust positive statements as hiding some truth. Candor however, is an extremely powerful ally. Self-deprecating statements made through marketing are instantly accepted as truthful. In fact, audiences expect proof to accompany a positive statement, while no proof is needed for a negative one. This is a very effective strategy when a positive can be twisted into the negative.
There are unlimited examples of full disclosure of a negative being turned into a positive. Take Buckley’s Mixture for example. Their claim is, “It tastes awful. And it works.” Developed in 1919, Buckley’s is the top-selling cough syrup in Canada. As a direct result of the first statement, audiences assume the second to be true, without requiring proof.
This approach also works in the corporate world. Today, sincere disclosure is like a breath of fresh air. In fact, honesty has been rewarded across all sectors and in a range of industries. This is also an effective tactic in times of crisis or potential risk.
This approach must be applied carefully and with skill. It has to be part of a well-researched and strategic effort. Marketing success isn’t about trying harder. It’s about trying smarter and bolder while leading with integrity.