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What Flattery Can Do For Your Brand

Marketing the rational benefits of a product may persuade a potential customer on a conscious level but persuade that customer on a “gut level” and the conviction will last.  Flattery can reach this unconscious level and create persistent positive feelings in the customer towards your product.  This is the topic of Andrew O’Connell’s post “Why Flattery is Effective.”

Flattery may be more effective for some products than others.  The Rossiter-Percy Grid has two dimensions:

  • type of decision: low risk or involvement versus high risk or involvement
  • purchase motivation: negative (help me solve/avoid a problem, stop the pain) versus positive (help me feel really good, get a lift) 

Flattery might be an effective tool in marketing products falling in any of the four quadrants.  While the author did not delve into this, it would be interesting and actionable to determine if flattery is more effective for some of these four quadrants than others.  The easiest fit may be with low risk, positive motivation products.  

Customers consider products as low risk when they have prior experience with the product or if the consequences of selecting it are minor.  Flattery can be part of the message for these low risk products because a highly credible claim is not necessary; there is room for flattery in a short marketing message.    

The positive motivation category contains products that provide a temporary condition that is above “normal”: make me feel a bit better about myself and life, give me a lift.   Examples of products in this category might be candy, fashion, or vacations.  They provide enhanced pleasure for a limited period.  Flattery is a perfect fit for these products because that’s what flattery does – gives you that little boost.

Products that address negative states (solve a problem) might benefit from flattery, too.  You know, you really are much too pretty to have such blah hair, let’s deal with that!

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