BrandArena: How Controversy Can Boost Your Online Business

Thursday 16 April 2015

How Controversy Can Boost Your Online Business

As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Extend the aphorism, and there is no such thing as bad controversy — especially if that controversy causes conversation. By that thinking, any buzz-generating event, even if wrapped around something less than wholesome, should be a positive for a company or brand looking to get some attention.

“Very few things cut through messaging clutter like controversy, but it’s important that you support your controversial position with facts, ensure your position is relevant to your business and strive to disagree without being disagreeable and never get personal. Those components are critical to the successful execution of this tactic.”

Author and online marketing consultant Frank Viola recently said while speaking with Entrepreneur about using controversy as an online marketing tactic.

It’s estimated that there are more than 4.68 billion web pages spanning the Internet with more than 570 new websites coming online every minute.

For every brand, the right level of controversy will fall at a different place.

When people do not have to reveal their identity, moderate controversy increases conversation because it increases interest without increasing discomfort. When people have to disclose their identity, however, controversy fails to increase, and actually decreases, conversation because it makes people feel uncomfortable.

When promoting your business online, the challenge is to make your brand stand out and attract attention when pretty much every other business in your industry is trying to do the same. If you just send out some emails and tweets trying to sell your products, no one will even notice you.

But there are a few different tactics that are proven to draw attention that can get your online business noticed.

One of the tactics to get your online business noticed involves creating some controversy. This doesn’t mean you should get involved in some kind of scandal. But taking a surprising stance in a conversation or posting some interesting stats on a topic related to your industry could certainly get people talking.

However, before you decide if you should get more controversial in your brand communication, you really want to go about getting some sense of where you are on that vibe.

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