How to use Attraction and Repulsion in Branding

When it comes to sales and marketing, most entrepreneurs focus only on the “BUY THIS” approach. What if I told you that it is equally (if not more important) to utilize the “DON’T BUY THIS” approach?

In other words, rather than appealing to the population at large, focus on a target market.

You could focus on being everything to everyone. Several gigantic brands do the same thing every day! Why shouldn’t you?

Let’s discuss. Do you know AT&T’s brand promise? How about Comcast or Chase Bank?

You probably don’t know the answers to these questions, because these examples operate within such largely commoditized and/or monopolized markets that they almost always compete on price or convenience, rather than on brand.

But what if we were to tell you that there’s a better way? For example, can you match these companies with their brand promise?


  • Apple
  • Volvo
  • Harley Davidson
  • Starbucks
  • ESPN


  • Freedom On The Open Road
  • Love it or Let Us Know
  • Authority and Personality (in Sports)
  • Think Different
  • Safety

Let’s assume you scored 5 out of 5 on the above quiz. If you knew the answers, please do us a favor and leave your answers in the comments below for everyone else.

So what’s the point? Each of the 5 mega-multinational companies listed above have distinct personalities.

Do you think that a Harley Davidson salesperson would like it if a rabid Volvo fan walked into their showroom and started asking a bunch of go-nowhere questions about the safety features on a Harley Softail Fat Boy Lo model motorcycle?

What kind of look do you think a Starbucks lover would get if they happened to go into Dunkin Donuts early one morning and ask for an Iced, Half Caff, Ristretto, Venti, 4-Pump, Sugar Free, Cinnamon, Dolce Soy Skinny Latte?

Many companies stake their profitability and processes on their branding. If they didn’t purposefully build brands that were designed to attract certain audiences while also repelling certain other audiences, they would spend a lot of time having to have actual conversations with prospective buyers that go absolutely no-where… and result in generally upset people who aren’t able to buy what they truly want.

Want to maximize your time building your business?

Make the most of your brand-building efforts by attracting your ideal clients and raging fans, while at the same time, repelling those people who are not an ideal match for you. Essentially, you would be telling them to NOT buy from you.

You might even have a headline called: “DON’T BUY THIS” (much like this blog post), which would be a complete “noise-interrupter” in a world where everyone is asking you to buy their products, services or programs.

Takeaway: Attract the right people into your business. Not everyone with a credit card is meant to be your customer or client. You will do yourself a favor and your client/customer a favor in the long run.