If You Can't Fix It, Feature It!
What you think is a "negative" — a liability, may in fact be your greatest asset. Don't hide it. Put it on the table, front and center, and disarm the potential negative perceptions. IYCFIFI: If you can't fix it, feature it! Make lemonade!
IYCFIFI #1: High-end athletic wear company Lululemon was getting bad press from their "overly sheer" yoga pants, projected to cost $60M in lost sales. I told their CEO Christine: Forget yoga pants for an active lifestyle. You just serendipitously invented a new product category — the first-ever YOGA LINGERIE! Sexy sleepwear for the athletic woman (more here).
IYCFIFI #2: New York University (NYU) used to downplay its location in the heart of the Big Apple, thinking prospective students would associate the campus with crime, danger, and other negatives. Then they did some marketing research and found quite the opposite. Their location was perceived as one of their most unique advantages. So NYU featured it. They made Manhattan their campus map!
Use IYCFIFI, like in Aikido, to move with the flow of energy, not against it. Don't fight what is. Lean into it and leverage the power there. Ask yourself: What do you hide? What do you assume are liabilities? There may be substantial marketing value in what you currently sweep under the rug. Transform assumed "weaknesses" into significant strengths and even key points of differentiation.
Moshe Engelberg, Ph.D., M.P.H.
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