Opposites Attract

A brainstorming technique that gives your brand a clearer voice by looking at the reverse.

Diana Lillicrap 4.5.22


Most brands are pretty good at defining products or services. You know what you offer, what you stand for, and what the customer gets when they hire you. That’s great, but are you clear on what your brand isn’t?

Sometimes illustrating the brand experience can be more clean-cut to a prospective customer if you can put it in terms of the opposite. Here’s a brainstorming technique to define comparative opposites and develop new brand language to attract your next customer.

State what you do

Start with that list of the things your business does really well. Keep it broad. Include products, services, processes, elements of your culture—anything that is unique to your brand.

Define the opposite

For every item on your list of “dos” figure out something that is the opposite. This could be related to products or services, wrong perceptions about price or quality, or anything else that doesn’t align with your brand. For example, if you provide services that are high-end and detailed, maybe fast-turn and cheap belong on your opposite list.

Give it a voice

Now put some language to your lists that makes the connection more complete and brings interest and deeper meaning to your brand voice. Here are a few examples:

“We are smart, but not elitists.”

“We are specialists, not generalists.”

“We are not the cheapest, but you don’t want cheap for something this important.”

“We are problem-solvers, not problem hiders.”

“We are rugged, and not for the faint of heart.”

Going through this exercise can help you create consensus within your organization about your niche, bring more clarity to your true brand voice, and ultimately give more meaning and depth to your communications with key audiences.

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