In a post at Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod tells the story of a superstar blogger who publicly congratulated a corporate competitor for joining the blogosphere. In her “welcome to the neighborhood” post, she also complimented one of her competitor’s products, “which truth be told,” says MacLeod, “is … really good … for that industry.”

A senior executive at her own company quickly excoriated the superstar in an internal email that bemoaned the press she gave to a competitive product. “What the poor suit doesn’t realize, of course, is that on a basic, primal level, how you talk about your competition actually says a lot more about you, than talking about yourself ever will,” says MacLeod.

He argues that a willingness to acknowledge the quality in a competitor’s product or service underscores the confidence you have in your own. Great artists, he notes, often champion protégés and colleagues; hacks, meanwhile, run around denouncing established artists as overrated or untalented. “Animals can smell fear,” says MacLeod, “or the lack thereof.” And when the superstar explained this rationale to the executive, he eventually came around to her perspective.

We see plenty of Marketing Inspiration in MacLeod’s philosophy: “[W]hat’s true at cocktail parties is also true in marketing,” he says. “If you want to be boring, talk about yourself. If you want to be interesting, talk about something other than yourself.”

Source: MarketingProfs enewsletter