Create a Winning Underdog Brand Message.

Throw away the notion that “if you’re not first you’re last” and learn to exploit this perceived disadvantage to rally customers and gain more market share.

“Find a weakness in the leader’s strength and attack that point.”
(Rise & Trout, Marketing Warfare)

The story of David and Goliath is as old as time, but every generation loves to hear it. Why? Because we instinctively root for the tenacious trier. We champion the underdog, we feel connected to them as they mirror the underdog aspects in our own lives.

Discussing The Underdog Effect, Avery et al. (2011 ) suggest we are…

Lessons Learned From The Biggest Brands & Their Blunders…

Cartoon Network’s Bomb Scare

In 2007, Cartoon Network launched a guerilla marketing campaign to promote the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, placing LED signs in random places throughout Boston.

A ‘How-To’ that inspires action…

Photo by Gareth Harper

This tried-and-tested exercise has worked at Google, Intel & Walmart, and is designed to help you start building a world-class brand.

So what is it?

Well, it’s an exercise in coming up with your brand’s future obituary:

25 years from now, your company is wiped out. Sit down and write the obituary. What would you want those obituary articles to say?

Before I explain why this is so influential, I’d like to give a shout-out to Marty Neumeier; a wonderful brand strategist whose book Zag inspired this post (a book I’d highly recommend to anyone intent on building an exceptional…

The Benefits of ‘going niche’ to grow sales…

When it comes to promoting your product, deciding on a specific marketing message is hard. You see all the benefits your product has, and all the different people it could help, so how do you figure out what to prioritise?

The best place to start is refining your audience and creating a niche.

A product for everyone is a product for no one.

It’s scary to pinpoint a precise group of people to target, as you feel the weight of the potential customers you are missing out on. But the truth is, when you try to make something for everyone…

How To Make Daily Decisions For Long-Term Planning…

In the early days of Netflix, founders Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings made a decision that would take the company from ‘run-of-the-mill’ and transform it into the industry titan it is today.

We’re going to take a look at their decision-making process, and how you can apply it to your business. But first up: what was this big, bright, trajectory-changing decision?

They stopped selling DVDs and focused solely on renting them.

Netflix sold and rented DVDs? They sure did.

A little background:

Netflix started as a DVD postal rental company, but they also sold DVDs at a time when DVDs…

Turn customers into dedicated followers with a powerful brand purpose…

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Ethnographer Simon Sinek popularised the importance of finding your Why, and I’m going to explain it’s significance in creating a long-lasting brand:

“In identifying your Why, you give everyone connected to your brand something to aspire to; you offer values people can follow.”

So what is your Why and how do you find it?

Your Why expresses the unique contribution and impact your business is striving to have. …

How to persuade customers with a benefit-based marketing message…

Copywriting that focus on how your product improves your customer’s life convinces them that it will improve their life. So start prioritising benefits over features.

Here’s a quick visual definition of how features and benefits differ:

What I’ve learned by obsessing over target audiences…

Want to create a killer marketing strategy? Then get to know your customer better than the back of your hand.

Applying a customer-first mindset means understanding how your customer thinks, acts, and feels, before shaping your sales and marketing message around how your product satisfies their specific needs.

Let’s reimagine the old phrase “the customer is always right” into “the customer is always rightfully selfish”.

You are trying to convince them to part with their hard-earned cash for your product, when there’s a never-ending list of other things they could buy. …

And the 1 question you need to answer to create a successful marketing strategy…

Want people to sit up and take notice of your product? Then get to know them. It’s all in the details, and this means making detailed customer personas. It means going niche.

There is a fallacy I often hear when I talk about niching down audiences to within an inch of their lives:

“If our target audience is too small, we will miss out on a load of potential customers.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most companies need to start small. They need to find an audience that can’t live without their product, as that’s how you identify…

How Apple read the market and produced what we always wanted…

Forget thanking Apple for the Apple Watch, let’s give a big shout out to Ford… yep, that’s Ford, the car manufacturer. Stick with me here.

Ford was one of the companies to commission the Lear Jet Corporation to build the portable 8-track player. In 1965, they introduced them into their car models. With this, Ford brought affordable, portable and personalised music to the masses.

David Cowan

Brand Voice Specialist. Amateur Ethnographer. Curious blogger. Check out my website at, or say hi at

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