In today’s fast-paced business environment, innovation is key to success. However, innovation doesn’t just mean just coming up with new products, features or services. It also means developing creative marketing strategies that set your brand apart from the competition.
That’s where the Steel Man technique comes in.
Developed by cognitive psychologist Dr. Gary Klein in the 1980s, the Steel Man technique is a problem-solving method that can help you develop successful marketing strategies and stay ahead of the curve.
Table of Contents
What is the Steel Man Technique?
The Steel Man technique is a highly effective problem-solving method that is widely used in various industries today. It encourages individuals to actively seek out opposing viewpoints and challenge their own assumptions when brainstorming solutions to problems. This process allows individuals to develop innovative solutions by considering new perspectives and challenging existing assumptions.
The Steel Man technique is rooted in the principles of critical thinking and cognitive psychology. It was developed by Dr. Gary Klein, a cognitive psychologist, in the 1980s. He designed the technique to help individuals overcome cognitive biases and develop more objective and creative problem-solving skills.
The Steel Man technique involves creating the strongest possible arguments against your own position and then addressing them. This approach is the opposite of the Straw Man technique, which involves setting up weak arguments to make them easier to knock down. The Steel Man technique is designed to create a more robust and well-informed argument by actively seeking out opposing viewpoints and addressing them head-on.
To use the Steel Man technique effectively, individuals must be willing to challenge their own assumptions and be open to new ideas. They must also actively seek out opposing viewpoints and engage in constructive dialogue to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the problem at hand. This process can lead to innovative solutions that may not have been apparent before.
The Steel Man technique is a powerful problem-solving method that can be used in various industries, including marketing strategy. By considering opposing viewpoints and challenging assumptions, individuals can develop more innovative and effective solutions to problems. The technique is rooted in critical thinking and cognitive psychology and can be a valuable tool for any individual or organization looking to improve their problem-solving skills.
Benefits of Using the Steel Man Technique for Marketing Strategy
The Steel Man technique has numerous benefits for developing marketing strategies. By challenging your own assumptions and considering opposing points of view, you can:
- Become more aware of your own biases: By actively seeking out arguments against your own position, you can become more aware of your own biases and challenge your preconceived notions about specific topics and ideas.
- Encourage collaboration and idea-sharing between team members: The Steel Man technique can increase team collaboration and encourage idea-sharing between team members who may hold different views on particular topics. By considering opposing points of view, you can create a more inclusive environment that values everyone’s input.
- Build trust: The Steel Man technique can help to build trust because participants must be willing to listen and consider other points of view before coming up with a solution. This can be difficult in a competitive environment, but it can lead to better outcomes when done correctly.
- Foster a culture of creativity and innovation: By encouraging team members to think critically about how they can improve existing products or services and come up with creative solutions to any problems they encounter, the Steel Man technique can help startups develop a culture of creativity and innovation within the working environment.
Implementing the Steel Man Technique for Marketing
The Steel Man technique can be used as an effective innovation marketing strategy in many different contexts. Here are some steps you can take to implement the Steel Man technique effectively:
- Set clear goals and expectations for each session: Make sure everyone knows what they should aim for during discussion. For example, you could set a goal of finding creative ways around a marketing strategy problem or brainstorming ideas for future marketing campaigns.
- Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions: Encourage your team to speak up and share their thoughts, and make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute.
- Allocate enough time for effective brainstorming sessions: Effective brainstorming takes time, so make sure you allocate enough time for your team to come up with creative solutions.
- Consider opposing points of view: When brainstorming solutions, actively seek out arguments against your own position and consider how you can address them.
- Evaluate potential improvements from multiple angles: Take the time to evaluate potential improvements from multiple angles to ensure that you are considering all possibilities.
Examples of Using the Steel Man Technique for Marketing
The Steel Man technique can be used in a variety of marketing strategy contexts, including:
- Developing marketing campaigns: Use the Steel Man technique to develop marketing campaigns that consider different viewpoints and create a more inclusive message.
- Creating marketing personas: When creating marketing personas, consider opposing viewpoints and try to understand the perspective of individuals who may not fit into your typical customer demographic.
- Conducting market research: The Steel Man technique can be used to conduct more effective market research by considering the viewpoints of individuals who may not be represented in your typical focus groups.
- Developing content: When developing content for your marketing campaigns, consider the opposing viewpoints and address them in your messaging to create a more comprehensive message that resonates with a wider audience.
- Designing user experiences: The Steel Man technique can be used to design user experiences that consider the needs of all users and your target audience, not just those who fit into your typical user demographic.
- Digital marketing strategy: A successful digital marketing strategy requires creativity, innovation, and a deep understanding of the target audience. The Steel Man technique can be a powerful tool for developing a social media marketing strategy that resonate with your target audience and achieve your business objectives.
Some Real World Examples
Dove Real Beauty Campaign
One real-life example of the Steel Man technique being used in a successful marketing strategy is the Dove Real Beauty campaign. In the early 2000s, Dove launched a series of ads featuring women of different ages, races, and body types in their underwear. The marketing campaign was designed to challenge the beauty standards perpetuated by the fashion and beauty industry and promote a more inclusive definition of beauty.
Using the Steel Man technique, Dove actively sought out arguments against their own position, such as:
- The use of women in underwear could be seen as objectifying and sexualizing women.
- The campaign might not resonate with women who fit into the traditional beauty standards.
- The campaign could be seen as a marketing ploy to sell more beauty products.
- Dove addressed these opposing viewpoints by highlighting the fact that the women in the ads were not professional models but real women with real bodies. They also included messaging that promoted self-love and acceptance, rather than the idea that beauty is only skin deep.
The Dove Real Beauty campaign was a huge success, winning numerous awards and becoming one of the most talked-about advertising campaigns of the 2000s. By using the Steel Man technique to consider opposing viewpoints and come up with solutions that addressed those concerns, Dove was able to create a more inclusive and effective marketing campaign.
Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” Campaign
Another real-life example of the Steel Man technique being used in a company’s marketing strategy is the “Share a Coke” campaign by Coca-Cola. In 2011, Coca-Cola launched a campaign where they replaced their logo on bottles and cans with popular first names, encouraging people to share a Coke with their friends and loved ones.
Using the Steel Man technique, Coca-Cola actively sought out arguments against their own position, such as:
- Removing the iconic Coca-Cola logo from the bottle goes against all brand recognition rules.
- The campaign could be seen as pandering or insincere, since Coca-Cola is a multinational corporation trying to be personal.
- The personalized bottles might not be available for all names, potentially excluding some customers.
- The campaign might not resonate with health-conscious consumers, who are wary of sugary beverages.
Coca-Cola addressed these opposing viewpoints by emphasizing the emotional connection people have with the Coca-Cola brand and the importance of sharing moments with others. They also included a wide range of names on the bottles, including uncommon names and nicknames, to make the campaign more inclusive.
The “Share a Coke” campaign was a huge success for Coca-Cola, generating a 7% increase in sales in Australia where it originated and becoming a global phenomenon when it was then implemented world wide.
By using the Steel Man technique to consider opposing viewpoints and address them in their marketing, Coca-Cola was able to create a campaign that resonated with consumers and helped to strengthen their emotional connection with the brand.
In conclusion, the Steel Man technique is a powerful tool that can help you develop innovative marketing strategies that set your brand apart from the competition. By challenging your own assumptions and considering opposing viewpoints, you can develop creative solutions to problems and identify new possibilities that may not have been apparent before.
By fostering a culture of creativity and innovation within your marketing team, you can keep your marketing strategy fresh and relevant, and stay ahead of the curve in today’s competitive business environment.