The psychological phenomenon “negativity bias” means that it’s typical for people to be able to recall previous negative experiences a lot more vividly compared to the positive ones. Additionally, any negative associations are going to be a lot stronger than any positive ones.
Furthermore, researchers of this subject have found that most of the time, negativity tends to overpower positivity, and at seemingly equal value, and this phenomenon has also been observed in babies as young as three months old.
What this means for brands, corporations, and marketers, who are trying their best to create brand messages that are going to stick with people, is that it might be better to use negative emotions to build a brand, instead of positive ones. However, this is a difficult line to walk, and it’s usually not recommended to connect a brand’s identity to negative feelings.
Fortunately, there are ways that marketers can use negativity while showcasing positivity.
Brands should be thinking about how the company is actively providing value to the consumers, instead of how it is different and better in reference to all of the competitors. This is because the audience is more than capable of coming to that conclusion without any help from brand messaging. That way, while the consumers are going to get the negative connotations, they are still going to see the company in a positive way.
By putting statistics that show the extent of the issue that the company’s audience wants to solve and how the company can help the audience in solving that issue, brands can create another way to harness negativity bias in a positive way. The first set of information is what’s going to get the public’s attention, and the second set is the reason that they’ll want to take action.
For example, everyone is currently worried about the planet’s future and climate change and is looking for solutions to this problem. However, a single individual can do very little to combat an issue of this size. A company that provides renewable solutions and green products can take this set of information and show how its consumers can help in combating this issue by using the company’s products – effectively taking a negative emotion and turning it into a positive marketing campaign.
Another way to use negative bias is to outwardly use comparisons with a relevant competitor, but brands should be careful with this tactic because it’s very delicate to achieve. This is something that Apple managed to successfully achieve back in the day when the brand started comparing its Mac products in comparison to PC. These days, with Apple being such a giant in the tech industry, it’s now on the receiving end of a similar marketing tactic from its competitor Samsung.
There are plenty of other ways that a brand or a corporation can harness negative information and turn it into a positive marketing campaign; however, as previously mentioned, it’s best to walk this line delicately, and this should never be the only type of promotion for brands.
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