Your Brand's Enemy is Your Friend

Know your enemy

Messaging and positioning are as much an exercise in understanding who you are 'for' as an exercise in who you are 'against'. Defining this oppositional view, which we call your 'brand enemy', makes it easier to tell your story in a way that's instantly relatable.

We use the word 'enemy' because it's such a juicy word, but you can also think of this exercise as figuring out 'what problem is my brand trying to solve'. Great companies and products solve problems, so if you can identify and describe that problem, it can be used to help you tell your story.

Most great stories have a hero and a villain

Knowing what you're fighting against is probably the single most important thing you can do to make content generation easier and more effective. The stories you read or watch more often than not revolve around conflict – so many classic plot lines follow the 'good guy vs. bad guy' theme. It's easy for someone to identify with this story quickly because it's so familiar and relatable.

The benefits of having an enemy

  • Shows your audience what you are 'for' and 'against'
  • Positions you against your competition
  • Gets your audience into the collective fight against the enemy

So how do you find your brand's enemy?

Like many things related to positioning, it goes back to the reason why you started your company. Why does your brand exist? If you are just doing the same thing as everyone else, then you will surely fail or at best be mediocre. At Condensed, we work with brands that are trying to push boundaries and change the world. If you fall into this category, you probably already know roughly what problem your brand is trying to solve. Here's a few tips to guide you:

  • Think back to when you first created your company – what made you want to do it? On a related note, this is also helpful as you try to define your brand's core values.
  • Think of other businesses that do what you do (your direct competition). What makes you better than them?
  • If things are still unclear, think about your customers. What problems are you solving for them? How are you making things better for them?

Some Examples of Brands & Their Enemies

Square's Enemy: Expensive Point Of Sale systems that are too complicated for regular people to use.

Apple's Enemy: Business computers (IBM specifically) aka boring spreadsheets with no tools for creative people.

Lyft's Enemy: Expensive, hard to hail taxies in busy cities.

Those are pretty obvious. Now let's look at some where the enemy might not be so clear:

Google's Enemy: It wasn't 'yahoo', but rather something more general and all-encompassing: unorganized information.

Nike's Enemy: Not Reebok – the enemy in this case is an inactive, lazy lifestyle.

Who is your brand's enemy?

Let's work together to you find it. At Condensed, we have been defining timeless brand strategies since 2012. Our tight-knit team of creatives prides itself in working with innovative startups and creative organizations that we believe in. To give you a bit of an idea of what it's like to work with us, let's look at our own enemies:

  • boring brands
  • bloated timelines
  • meetings that could be a quick slack conversation
  • brands try to fit into the current trends
  • inefficient budgets
  • the word 'journey'

Most of our clients go on from identifying their enemies to driving the conversation in their industry as leaders who bring change forward. And Condensed is often their partner along for the ride, as their de-facto creative department.

Are you ready to tackle your enemies? Drop us a line.