Is your business message positive or negative?

I noticed two contrasting articles published today which reminded me of an argument I had with an economist a couple of years ago! Firstly, in what is sadly becoming a typical way to talk about the economy, ie negatively, the BBC reported Sir Mervyn King’s statement that the economy will “zigzag” in and out of growth. On the other hand, one of my favourite sources of information Marketing Donut (via IT Donut) presented a positive outlook with the results of their recent small business survey. They had gathered feedback from 700 respondents about the current business climate and what they were planning in 2012. The vast majority of these respondents were senior managers, directors and owners of small businesses – and most of them had a positive view on the UK economy, for example:

  • 87% were confident they won’t have to make redundancies this year.
  • 60% plan to invest in technology, especially cloud computing and mobile working.
  • 67% won’t need financial support from banks or government to help them grow.
  • 51% intend to increase their marketing spend.

These results mirror the informal feedback I get from clients and associates, all of whom are owners of smaller businesses in the south west. Business owners generally seem positive about what their businesses will achieve in 2012 (especially as one of my clients had one of their best years ever in 2011!). But the media still insists on reporting only the negative news about what is happening – which is why I was reminded of my argument with an economist in 2008!

I had attended a briefing by this senior economist who, in his view, presented a ‘factual’ prediction of an economic downturn (which duly happend!). But the issue I had was that by stating his opinion as ‘facts’, he (and all the other nay-sayers with access to broadcast media) were creating a self-fulfilling prophesy where we would all be so scared of a potential recession, we would stop buying/spending to protect what money we had. Which is exactly what everyone did – and the result was a recession!

As a marketer, I believe in putting out POSITIVE (and honest!) messages to encourage people to take an action. As a psychologist, I know that language can be use to persuade individuals to do all sorts of things – positive AND negative. So if your business is putting out a negative message – guess what! – people are likely to NOT do what you actually want them to. Your business needs to express its messages positively and practically – which is how you will get people to want to buy your products (rather than your competitors!) AND complete the buying action.

Want to know more about how to increase the positive responses of your potential customers? Contact me and I’ll show you how!

With thanks to IT Donut & Marketing Donut for their permission to reprint the results of their survey.


2 thoughts on “Is your business message positive or negative?

  1. This just feel so old school (but thanks for posting). If everyone read Think and Grow Rich and How to Win Friends and Influence people then I wouldn’t have to listen to the usual BBC nonsense.

  2. Thanks for your comments Julian – you’re right, there’s nothing new about this! I’m just fed up with hearing all this negativity around us which focuses on complaining about what’s wrong whereas it only takes a little bit more effort to look at the positives and what actions can be taken to make something good happen.

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