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Different, just like everyone else

June 7, 2011

(Found through Google Images, wish I knew who to credit)

I’m working on a big brand differentiation project at the moment.

Which is fascinating.  It’s like being handled a giant ball of knotted thread, and being asked to untangle it.  Satisfying and fun, although a little like the Augean Stables at the start. 

At the moment I’m finding an end, following it in, and finding another twenty interesting things to think about.

In some ways it’s even more difficult, because increasingly the threads aren’t even different colours.

Differentiation, in a branding context, is something I’ve been worrying about a bit recently.  It needs redefining, and I’m not really sure how. (Or maybe it has been already, and my real question is where should I be looking for help…) 

Genuine, protectable USPs are few and far between.  There’s not much that you can put a fence around and say it is unique at the moment.  

It’s a case of not so much a USP as just an SP. 

So there needs to be another way to engage people with your brand.  To encourage them to support it, buy into it (literally – this is being measured on increasing market share). To take the step to find out more.

I’ve been really interested in the cultural strategy stuff that Northern Planner has written about recently, and I wish that I had had time to sort out an entry for the APSOTW task.  In fact I’m kicking myself for not making time.

There’s something in here that really works right down at the fundamental brand level.

You will never get people to buy into your brand unless they feel a connection and a desire to do so.  Especially when benefits and attributes are so universal that they could easily go elsewhere for them. 

There needs to be something new – and product benefits can’t offer that anymore.  They are too copy-able.

Emotional meaning, and meaning that is created by the customers themselves.  That is hard to copy.

Unfortunately it’s also pretty hard to create as well.

Waiting for my copy of Holt and Cameron’s Cultural Strategy to arrive – here’s hoping it will spark some ideas!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2011 5:00 pm

    Love this post and it got me thinking as well. I’m a new blogger and I like to think that I’m offering something different, but whether or not I am … I believe that I’m forming online relationships/discourses with fellow bloggers out there. I feel a certain affinity with them and hopefully the feeling is mutual. In terms of branding all I can think about is Apple. I love my Mac and the reason I do (aside from its superior quality) is that Apple has great CS. I’ve never experienced anything like it … that is what sets Apple apart from the rest.

    • June 8, 2011 4:50 pm

      Thank you 🙂 Following on from this I was reading today about brands that are brave enough to be honest – and it made me think of this comment! Brands that are honest about what they are, and what they are interested in ultimatly seem to do better at creating that affinity. Seems like a vindication of writing about what you are interested in really?!
      Apple is an interesting brand. They get things right at so many touchpoints (like you say, awesome customer service) but then other things don’t add up. Hmmmmm, I may feel another post coming on there!

      • June 8, 2011 5:21 pm

        I just love how comments and replies can inspire a fellow blogger 🙂

  2. June 13, 2011 11:18 am

    Excellent article and easy to understand explanation. How do I go about getting permission to post part of the article in my upcoming news letter? Giving proper credit to you the author and link to the site would not be a problem.

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