How Breaking Down Your Competition Hurts Your Credibility
Have you ever seen those commercials where the Advertiser mocks or criticizes their competition? This happens all the time in politics. In fact, they call it mud-slinging and expect it to happen in almost every debate.
Why do they feel the need to break down their opponents?
They'd tell you it's for basis of comparison and perhaps it's partly that, but a lot of it is that they're jealous or threatened by the competition. When tension runs high and fear begins to bubble up to the surface, companies, politicians, and people we meet every day tend to use school-ground tactics (such as whining, bullying, or pointing fingers) to make things go their way. This is a huge mistake.
Let me give you a more in-depth example.
Car companies who do this on TV, generally show their vehicles along with their competition's vehicle side by side in a road test or, like in the Chevy commercial, testing durability of truck beds.
I'd always been neutral about Chevy up til that point where I saw them trying to knock down their competition a peg or two. It seemed base, like a kid kicking his feet and screaming, "I'm still valid!" Not only that, I didn't interpret the "test" results in the same way so their initial point was also lost on me. Ultimately, their attempt to convert failed for me on a personal level.
Here's another (stranger) example.
Fans are dedicated members of a group. Generally, they're ecstatic to meet other fans, but when that other fan doesn't meet their "standard," they get branded "Not a True Fan."
What is the goal of all fans? Isn't it to see their favorite bands, movies, TV shows, comics, books, succeed? (If it isn't, it should be.) So why cut down the other fans?
Because suddenly there's competition. Someone might be better. Someone might overtake ultimate fan-ness. We can't allow that in case we meet our idols and they recognize that our fan-ness wasn't as much as someone else's fan-ness. So we make up reasons why they're not as good as us and put them down.
Car companies are constantly advertising to show that they're better than the competition to get us to buy their cars. If they're so worried that we'll buy the competitor's car, doesn't that mean that they have concerns that their product isn't as good?
It's like saying, "Choose me because my opponent sucks!" Where they should be saying, "Choose me! I've updated these features, made this more efficient, and we're committed to keep progressing."
Politicians slinging mud expect that tactic to work because they're proving the deficiencies of their opponent. And if they're opponent is deficient, they're not worthy, right?
But isn't everyone deficient in some way? Don't we all make mistakes? And what about the policies? I'm more interested in hearing what that politician has planned for making the world better, not how their opponent is inadequate.
All this finger pointing distracts from the main points (which in itself is a little dishonest). We want politicians to do they're best to uphold good governmental policies. We want cars to evolve. We want our favorites to keep progressing and finding success.
We want to find success.
People gravitate toward quality products. If we want people to gravitate toward us, we need to be producing quality products and cultivating empowering relationships.
We should be showing how we're better than we were before. Not how we're better than someone else.
Genuine enthusiasm for the work we do will always push us to be better. And it doesn't matter what our competition is doing (other than for research purposes as to how to price your product or what features you should add because their customers and yours need it).
Think about it this way. Who would you rather have as a friend? A person who is more concerned with bettering themselves? Or someone who tears others down to make themselves look and feel better?
The former makes a better friend, because you can never tell if the latter will start tearing you down.
In conclusion, dissing other people never looks good. In fact, it makes the guilty party look worse. If they have to settle for playground tactics, they've already lost.