Opinion: Join Bing and Paul in accentuating your positives

Opinion: Join Bing and Paul in accentuating your positives

The lyrics of a 1940s classic have a great marketing message, says Steve Dunne, executive chairman of Brighter Group

One of my all-time favourite songs is an old 1940s number that, over the years, has been covered by everyone from Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters to Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney and Jools Holland.

You may know it. Ac-Cent-Tchu‑Ate the Positive is the title and it’s sung in the style of a sermon. Through its verses the tune explains that accentuating the positive (and eliminating the negative) in many situations is the key to happiness.

And there is a clear lesson to be drawn from that song for any travel business trading in the face of fierce or seemingly unbeatable competition.

Whether you are a travel agent trying to hold back the tide of internet shopping and direct selling from travel principals, or a small independent operator seeking to carve out a niche, the secret to success is accentuating your positives while eliminating your negatives to the marketplace.

And, as every marketer will tell you, the key to a great marketing strategy lies in turning what may be perceived as weakness into a strength.

Turn a weakness into a strength

Nowhere is this strategy more apparent than right here in the travel industry, home to one of the oldest and most famous straplines in marketing history – the Avis “We Try Harder” slogan.

Born over 50 years ago, the We Try Harder strapline was something of a revolution back in the 1960s. Legend has it that the then chief executive of the car rental company, Robert Townsend, took the unheard of decision of publicly admitting that his brand was not number one in the car rental field.

Indeed, he decided to make a virtue out of a truism: when you are number two you have to work harder than the number one brand in order to make a difference. The slogan’s message – that the biggest player doesn’t always work hardest or have the most focus on the customer – was something the target audience quickly grasped.

So, regardless of the industry sector in which your company operates, the secret is to turn what might be perceived as a weakness into what can clearly be seen by all as a strength.

Play up your positives

If your brand is small, you can be faster than a larger brand in responding to market changes.

If you are a homeworker, you can be proactive with clients, providing customers with ideas and inspiration based on their personal preferences or financial profiles.Websites, it could be argued, don’t always differentiate between a cheap deal and one that is truly good value.

The world is moving rapidly towards wanting specialists who know about luxury, cruise, wellness or adventure; it wants brands that are fast-moving, responsive and proactive.

Add in the growing desire by consumers for trust in their supplier or adviser and one can see how any perceived disadvantages, such as size, resources or technology, can be quickly eliminated by the strengths of your business, be it knowledge, proactivity, speed of response or something else.

So, to echo the sentiments of the song, get thinking about your business and the marketplace, and start accentuating your positives!

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