4 Weird Ways to Outmaneuver Your Competition (Using Psychology)

This product can put marriages back together (and it's no bigger than a post-it note.)

4 Weird Ways to Outmaneuver Your Competition (Using Psychology)

I found a brand this week that has developed a product so innovative, so profound, so incredibly life-changing that it can turn back the aging clock, unlock powerful healing properties in the body, and apparently ​put marriages back together.​

A bold claim for a product that's no bigger than a Post-It Note.

But as I dove deeper into the brand, I found a few things I didn't expect to see from a new business, and one that almost no DTC brand in the industry has mastered yet.

I hope you're ready, because today's brand breakdown is an interesting one...

You're Feeling Very Sleepy...

In a world where blue lights, stressful careers, and unsteady economies wreck havoc on our sleep, the pursuit of a good night's rest has become a universal, almost competitive quest among today's consumers (if you haven't seen ​Andrew Huberman talk about red light evenings​, you're missing out. 😂)

Brands that wish to address this widespread problem are emerging left and right, but amidst this crowded space, mouth taping in particular has caught the eye of the majority of the market.

Top creators like Joe Rogan, Andrew Huberman, and others have boarded the mouth taping train, and millions of customers have boarded with them - seemingly because taping your mouth shut at night...works. And it works incredibly well.

Amidst this surge of interest, a curious contender, ​Hostage Tape​, has unexpectedly risen to prominence in the mouth taping market. Hostage Tape has inadvertently found itself at the forefront of the mouth taping trend, and oddly enough, they've used quite a lot of psychology and behavioral science to do how they’re doing it.

Let's unpack how they pulled this off:

Position: Hostage Tape isn't selling mouth tape.

While Hostage Tape has a whole lineup of stuff for better sleep (like nose strips and nasal sticks) here's the real kicker: if you take a closer look at their branding, you'll realize they're not just selling sleep aids...they're selling something much more valuable.

Their tagline, "Don't let bad sleep hold you hostage," hits you right in the feels. It's not just about getting some shut-eye; it's about breaking free from the misery of sleepless nights.

They're selling freedom...not sleep.

That's powerful positioning that's right in line with what their customer's brain needs, which is why their reach has been so wide. Everyone wants freedom from something, and Hostage Tape is selling it in very simple 30-day packs. 😅

Product: Hostage Tape isn't following the crowd.

While the rest of the industry is peddling traditional, medical-looking products that remind you just how embarrassing it is to snore, Hostage Tape goes against the grain and offers something much more aligned with their customer's expectations of a personalized product (something I wish every brand would do).

The use of black material that is easily removable and won't stick to facial hair is a good place to start, but the fact that the material is breathable - the fact that you can actually breathe through it if you're really stuffed at night - is incredible.

That simple feature calms the brain's natural alarm system (no body wants to suffocate while sleeping) which is probably why they had so many early adopters. Feeling safe = easier decision making.

Perception: Hostage Tape isn't waiting for people to discover them.

In the early stages of its growth, Hostage Tape strategically aligned itself with influential figures and communities within the mouth taping sphere. Two prominent creators, Joe Rogan and Andrew Huberman, were already making content and thousands of people were listening.

By partnering with and participating in these communities, Hostage Tape positioned itself as a trusted authority and gained credibility among customers, further solidifying its foothold in the market.

Now the more involved the brand gets, the more of a connection their customers feel - essentially making them the preferred brand psychologically.

(Note: it's the participation piece you should be studying the closest. Young Millennials and Gen Z are ​changing the entire marketing game​. The game is about to change...)

Preference:Hostage Tape isn't giving customers a choice.

This is my favorite part! And something very few DTC brands know how to do well...

Hostage tape is doing something entirely different than the, "buy one box of 12 a bunch of times" strategy their competitors are using. By limiting their customer's product choices to just a few, select pricing models (a 30-day trial, monthly subscription, or bulk, year-long supply), Hostage Tape is cleverly guiding consumer behavior without having to use persuasion.

If you take nothing else from this email, remember this:

The more you can direct consumer behavior by restricting choice, the less you'll have to use sales tactics to sell things.

A streamlined choice architecture not only simplifies the purchasing process but also encourages recurring revenue and LTV. It's a win, win.

How to do this for your brand:

  1. Position yourself by figuring out what your competitors aren't. It pays to pay attention! Take some time to do some deep research into your competitors and document everything you find. Are they promoting themselves as the safe option? The most popular one? Are they telling customers they have eco-friendly products, or are made in the US? Once you figure out what they are, it's much easier to sell their customers on what they are not - that's how you master the market.
  2. Produce something that looks like it belongs to only one group of people, and everyone will buy. One of the easiest ways to differentiate yourself in the market is to identify the current visual brand path...and take the exact opposite route. ​Obvi ​did this with their brand and products and it essentially took their brand out of the "boring supplement" category, and into the "trendy holistic health" category.
  3. Bend perception by actively participating in as many online conversations as you can find. Yes, this will be time consuming - yes, this will require some money up front. But the benefits of getting involved in the online lives of your customers cannot be understated. Currently, Millennials and Gen Z are two of the largest purchasing demographics in the nation, and all they want is to participate with the brands they're purchasing from. So get involved! (It's going to become mandatory for all brands moving into 2025, and will eventually become the only way forward after we lose cookies, so the sooner you can do this, the better.)
  4. Limit your customer's preferences by reducing the amount of choices they have. This may sound backwards (because all psychology is backwards 😅) but ​studies show ​the less choices you encounter, the quicker you can make a decision. Allowing only long-term options will also help your customers make long-term decisions which will increase your LTV and customer satisfaction over time.

Discover the secret psychology hacks 9-figure brands (like True Classic) use to boost sales...🧠

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