Can a brand be positive and aggressive? Can it hit hard but come off as nice in the minds of the consumer? The simple answer is yes.
The complicated answer has to do with confidence.
The next three blog posts will explore three pillars of the pillars to build a brand that will allow a brand to be positive and aggressive in brand communications and actions
If the nature of a brand is to be positive and optimistic - think Pepsi (joy), Coke (open happiness), Apple (experience) - it will have a hard time pulling of assertive messaging unless it shows consistent confidence. The brands I've mentioned have the distinguished fortune of providing exceptional products, however the core of any brand does require confidence and consistency so that consumers allow their message to be heard.
The first step for a brand to combine positive and aggressive messaging is to show pride. Pride in itself, its people and its products. This should not be confused with self-centered advertising. It means that if the brand is going to communicate, each image, message and media will reflect the pride and confidence this brand believes in.
If we dig one foot deeper, the core of any brand are the people that stand behind it. Employees require pride and confidence in the brand for this to end up as a believable proposition in the minds of consumers. If an executive team/customer service department/marketing team/etc. cannot decide on a unifying message that describes the brand, pride will never resonate with the consumer, regardless of the clever tactics or creative advertising that are thrown at them.
There are a few industries that are often picked on by consumers and marketers for being wolves in sheep's clothing. They attempt to be nice but the core brand is focused on aggression. Think about some used car companies, insurance companies or telemarketers.
Look through your organization - do your employees show pride in the brand? Does your brand reflect this pride in its communications?