Some say, “differentiate or die.” At its most basic, this is about claiming the clear space only you can. The “one thing” or offer you’ve got that the competition doesn’t.
Some say, these days it’s tough to lead and win based on “different.” Because frankly, in such a crowded world, what brand can be truly and totally unique? Better to be distinctive. As in, easily recognizable. Your brand “jumps out” at the consumer when they come across it or are planning to buy. Which means if you’re going to be distinctive, you’ve got to be in front of consumers a LOT. Salience equals brand supremacy.
Renowned marketing professor and consultant Mark Ritson makes a great case in this piece for brands blending the best of both: “Distinctiveness need not come at the cost of differentiation.”
I agree. With the complexity of the business landscape and brand-building today, I often find myself leaning towards weaving different concepts and threads together. Less “single school of thought” and more “nuanced approach” determined by the client, need, market, and all the things.
One thing to note though: Don’t let what your brand stands for become diluted by salience. When there’s pressure to create content, engage and be in all the places your consumers are, quantity can trump quality.
Don’t let it.