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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  March 15, 2016

Branding Lessons from ISIS?

Good ideas sometimes come from the most unlikely places—even terrorist groups.

Sometimes good ideas come from the most unlikely places. Exhibit A: A recent CNN article on how to out-brand the terrorist group ISIS. Move past the context and the politics, and check out the to-dos towards the end of the article. The suggestions here also apply to any business competing in noisy markets.

The most important findings for you:

Disrupt their narrative. It’s no longer about who reframes the problem better. It’s now about the outcome and the journey. Whoever controls the story, controls the buyer perception. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and ask yourself, “What do my competitors really advocate? What is my alternative world view?” The answer lies not in their messaging but in what is not discussed.


Related: How Ideas Catch Fire


• Format matters. It doesn’t matter how much better your messaging is. If your competitors have better production values, you look lame in comparison. Format is now part of influencing perception. So, look at your buyers, and ask yourself these questions: what formats are they used to right now? Are they more visual? More fast-paced? And if you raise the bar and give them more of that, will your messages rise above the noise?

People become clients and advocates when you enter their world and show a persuasive perspective in a compelling way. If it works for terrorists, I think it’ll work for you.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.