The Art of Corporate Dragon Slaying

With the recently concluded film trilogy of The Hobbit now in theatres, I thought I should use dragon slaying as an analogy for a marketing conundrum. Bear with me; this will soon make sense. When you want to steal a dragon’s treasure, do you slowly, carefully, and methodically steal a few gems at a time, or do you run into its cave, arrows flying and swords drawn, to wound it so critically that it can’t even defend its cache while you take gems away by the cartful?

Today my good friend Dee (whose book recommendations always hit the mark) forwarded a newsletter to me that she received from up-and-coming online invitation website Punchbowl. The first part of the newsletter looked like this:

punchbowl newsletter excerpt

So much for subtlety, right? Then again, what’s so great about subtlety? If your brand is twiddling its thumbs off in some remote corner of the industry, how will you get anyone to notice you? This is where the “go big or go home” approach taken by Punchbowl leaves its mark: potential customers start to pay attention. It’s hard to forget a memorable hashtag like #AdiosEvite, even if you don’t often use online invitation websites.

On the other hand, and this should go without saying, if you’re going to brag that your company X is better than that other company Y, then company X had better truly and objectively be better than company Y. Also, while trying to persuade potential customers that you have a lot to offer, you’re also reminding them of your competition. And let’s not forget that this type of branding can be seen as arrogant and pompous, rather than confident and proud.

It’s hard to say which is the better approach to take. That’s why this won’t be the last time we see one company loudly proclaim its superiority over its competitor. Besides the Pepsi Challenge, does any other David and Goliath marketing campaign stand out for you? Share in the comments below.

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