Everyone has heard the adage opposites attract. There’s a reason opposites tend to come together. In physics, it’s about two poles of differing charges. In romance, it is dissimilar personalities. It is also true in branding and marketing. Opposites tend to get attention. They are noticed because of their nonconformity. It’s why Seinfeld was such a hit show.
Why Rule Breaking Works
Why do opposites attract? Probably because each has something the other does not have. Using this fundamental principle, a brand can gain traction and become mainstream with a little creativity. Though conventional wisdom dictates we all follow the rules, some strategic rule breaking can blow-up the newest brand on the block.
- Seinfeld. This sitcom came along and completely redefined situation comedy because there was no situation which wasn’t common place to the average person. Simultaneously, the situations were blown out of proportion, making them funny to the average person. It wasn’t that someone stood too close during a conversation, it was personified by the “close talker”. It wasn’t that some take rules to the extreme, it was brought to life, complete with a sign reading We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone and a restaurateur yelling, “No soup for you!”. The gamble pitched about a “show about nothing” returned a huge pay-out. The show did the opposite of its forerunners, M.A.S.H., a story about the Korean War, Cheers, which was set in a bar and All In the Family, pitting the old guard against the new age phenomenon.
- Chick Fil A. No burgers. No clown. No fancy kid’s meals. Chick Fil A represents reinventing the wheel. Before it, McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s were the major fast food players. But a quality low-cost meal with a few catchy billboards depicting illiterate cows committing graffiti sure made the American public take notice. What’s more, Chick Fil A is genuinely family friendly and exudes Judeo-Christian values.
- FOX News. Like it or hate it, the news network isn’t going anywhere. Its founder, a man from Down Under, Rupert Murdoch, saw what other news organizations long ignored–another half of the public being represented in the newsrooms. Until FOX News, the morning paper and nightly news were presented with a left-of-center bias. FOX News tilted right and has become the most watched news network in the United States. What to take from these examples? Simple. Breaking the rules can pay-off in a big way. But it must meet market demand. Notice in each, the entity filled a void. Also notice that each took a different approach to the status quo. If you can make your services stand out in a way no other does and do it with flare, you’ll get noticed time and again.