Eye of the Tiger: Position Like an Underdog

Last Wednesday, I spent the day soaking in knowledge at the Financial Times Future of Marketing Summit in New York City. Hearing from some of the top minds in marketing was inspiring, and looking forward, the future is very bright.

However, sometimes it might not seem that way if you’re a marketer. Times are tough. Competition is fierce. Maybe you’re the underdog, and your competitor is dominating the space. Sound relatable to you? Kathleen Hall from Microsoft feels your pain. In her presentation at the Summit, Hall spoke passionately about how Microsoft went from being Apple’s punching bag — remember the “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” ads? — to being back on top.

What’s Microsoft’s secret? Positioning itself as the challenger. It’s why people love stories like “Rocky,” where they get to root for the everyman. Get creative and flip the script in order to take back the upper hand. Perhaps you remember Microsoft’s ads for the Surface tablet from a year or two ago:

Hall spoke about how taking the bold approach of using edgy humor against Apple paid off. It made Apple look like the top-down elitist corporation, while positioning Microsoft as the jovial human sidekick.

If you’re in a tough situation — don’t panic! Think outside the box, see what you can do to turn the tables and flip the script. It might be hard work, but like every good underdog story has shown us, it’s worth the risk.

Jeremy Zimmerman is Associate Content Editor for Target Marketing magazine and Direct Marketing IQ.

Publish date: September 22, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/performance-marketing/eye-tiger-position-like-underdog/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT