The Top Ten Ways to Market a Love-Hate Topic
Is your topic one that elicits a “love-hate” response from people? It could be your opinion about dieting, sex or achieving success. Some people will agree with you and others will disagree, perhaps vehemently. If your brand does bring out the best and worst feelings among your target buyers, there are things you can do to sell more books under those circumstance.
The top three most polarizing brands are McDonalds (33% love, 29% hate), Starbucks, (30% love, 23% hate) and BP (22% love, 19% hate). The least polarizing brand is Amazon.com where 56% love it and only 3% hate it. You don’t need exact figures of the ratio for your brand, but you can get a good feel for it if your radio performances elicit callers with extreme opinions. Here are the Top Ten Ways to Market a Polarizing Topic.
- Focus on the undecided people in your target market and do not try to be “all things to all people.”
- Follow the social media carefully to see what the “brand haters” are saying.
- Confront detractors directly to reduce negative word of mouth and create a larger pool of potential buyers. 
- Studies show that highly polarizing brands tend to perform more poorly than others, but they also tend to be less risky.
- Get feedback on your marketing campaigns from a focus group or from your fellow discussion-group members or in the APSS Idea Marketplace.
- Create media buzz by intentionally antagonizing brand detractors. This also has the effect of reinforcing your message among your enthusiastic readers
- If a single characteristic is responsible for the deep schism between your brand’s fans and detractors, amplify the polarizing attribute
- Create a new book that amplifies the point of differentiation and perhaps bolster loyalty among your brand “lovers.”
- You may choose to create a polarizing attribute to differentiate your book from a strong competitor and stand out in a crowded field.
- Focus your sales efforts on market segments made up of a larger population of brand lovers
 Make the Most of a Polarizing Brand, Harvard Business Review, November, 2013, pgs. 29-31
 I used this technique when I found a person on a listserve denigrating my special-sales catalog program with erroneous information. I joined the list and corrected the misrepresentation. The disparager apologized to all.
Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and president of Premium Book Company, which sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission-only basis and conducts on-site training for publishers' sales forces.
Brian is the author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns)," a do-it-yourself guide to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He has written many articles about book publishing and marketing, is the author of the eight e-booklets with "Proven Tips for Publishing Success," and creator of the series of "Book Marketing Wizards." He is also the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter, "Book Marketing Matters."
Brian is the host of the television series "The Book Authority" and has aired over 650 shows. In addition, he is the author, narrator and producer of the media-training video program "You're On The Air."