Stan Phelps on How to be a ‘Flawsome’ Brand

How do you make your flaws awesome ? How do you differentiate by ‘Flaunting’ your flaws like Buckley’s Cough Syrup ?

Stan Phelps on Brand Differentiation by Being Flawsome

Stan Phelps, CSP talks about the concept of FLAWSOME for businesses/brand. He describes it something that is awesome because of, not despite, its flaws. For a brand/business it is perfectly possible for flaws and awesomeness to co-exist. Stan believes it is a powerful way to differentiate.

Stan talks about an example of Buckley’s Cough Syrup which found strength by flaunting weakness. The Buckley’s Cough Syrup tastes horrible and is not for the faint of heart. The cough syrup is nasty, and the company is proud of that. 

Buckley’s didn’t try to hide it or mask the flavor like the competition. Instead, they made the bad taste their focus. In advertisements, Buckley’s compared the taste to trash bag leakage and sweaty gym socks. The implicit message was that it works because it tastes awful.

The “bad taste” campaign increased Buckley’s market share by over 550 percent in the Canadian cough & cold category. The campaign won numerous advertising awards and was subsequently launched in the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.

t takes courage to call attention to existing weaknesses, but it takes even more courage to make those weaknesses appear worse, to exaggerate and flaunt them. Consumers don’t expect brands to be flawless. In fact, consumers will embrace brands that are FLAWSOME: brands that are still brilliant despite having flaws.

Stan has an eight-part F.L.A.W.S.O.M.E. framework for achieving competitive separation by embracing flaws, instead of fixing them. Each letter stands for a different type of flaw that you can leverage to your advantage:


Please listen to the full conversation between Stan & Jasravee Kaur Chandra at our Youtube Channel on ‘Creating a Differentiated Customer Experience to Drive Loyalty & Growth’

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