Q: What do you do when your rival, enemy, or nemesis comes up with a creative, effective marketing campaign that puts you in your place?
If you answered:
A. Assemble the militia,
B. Scream “WHY I OUGHTTA!!!” (a personal favorite), or
C. Beat them at their own game…
You are wrong.
I have AT&T phone service. I had Verizon for several years before AT&T, but had absolutely no service in my house. It turned out that I was in a pocket where there was no service and they apologized and let me out of my contract. AT&T and Verizon have battled each other for years, but Verizon’s new campaign is one of the most effective to date (a good writeup is at bnet).
It is a factual campaign even if the graphics are a bit deceiving. AT&T subsequently filed a lawsuit or two. The time, resources, and momentum that went into those lawsuits and the commercials that followed were quite frankly wasted.
It is a matter of sticking to your strategy / vision. When a great athlete encounters an obstacle, do they adjust their course or keep on moving towards their goal? When Lance Armstrong doesn’t have the lead after a stage, does he panic and pedal as fast as he can to gain ground? No. His strategy is to run his race and he usually leaves people in the dust once he approaches the mountain stages.
Consistency is important and if you want to build a strong brand, don’t flinch when your competitors poke sticks at you. Stick to your guns, build the brand, and follow the agreed upon vision. The shortest distance between two points is still a straight line – regardless of any amount of money you throw in.