Brand Strategy

Be Distinctive, Not Different.

Differentiate or die. It's been drilled into our heads since school. But just how relevant is the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for marketers today?

Differentiation vs. distinctiveness. Which one holds the key to brand growth?

  • Brand Differentiation is when there’s a clear-cut perceived difference between your brand and others in the marketplace. In other words, customers have a reason (USP) to choose you over your competitors.
  • Brand Distinction is how easy it is for customers to identify your brand within the marketplace. It describes how much you stand out against your competitors.
Differentiation vs Distinction in Marketing
Brand Differentiation vs. Distinctiveness.

For many, Apple is synonymous with exceptional design. But 77% of its user base say that they do not see it as different or unique from other brands.

For the majority of its audience, Apple is no different than its competitors. Their products are tools to browse the internet, talk to people, and make things just like every other device.

The reality is that most decisions are more subconscious than comparing a checklist of USPs and differentiators. If the majority of buying decisions don’t factor in USPs then, for many marketers, it is not essential to convince customers that their product is different.

“For many marketers, it is not essential to convince customers that their product is different.”

Instead, marketers should focus on being distinctive. This takes time and consistent exposure before and throughout the buying journey. But the result is a deeper connection between buyers and your brand.

So, how can you make your brand distinctive?

Make your brand distinctive.

A distinctive brand is made up of memorable assets:

  • Logo
  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Font Combinations
  • Tagline
  • People (Leadership, Celebrity endorsements etc.)

Every one of these assets should act as emotional reassurance. Together, they should build a sense of familiarity. You create memories and then you refresh them again and again and again.

Distinctive Brand Marketing
Scattered Brand vs. Distinctive Brand.

A distinctive brand boosts the value of all your marketing tactics. Instead of ad hoc assets, every interaction between you and your buyer builds and a reinforces a memory structure in their minds.

But for existing companies, crafting all this from scratch for the sake of distinctiveness is stupid. Overhauling your entire brand image damages any distinctiveness you’ve already built up.

First, you have to identify the strong brand assets you already have and condense them into a cohesive playbook.

What are your brand colours? Can these be stripped down to a focused palette? Which shapes do you use in your graphics? How can these shapes be used across your different channels?

Build on top of the assets that already make you stand out. Standardise them. Reinforce them again and again through every article, social media post, and display ad.

Build a distinctive, familiar brand that bypasses the need for a USP and builds a meaningful connection with your customers.

Create distinctive content with Mkt.

With Mkt, every bit of content you create targets a specific persona and part of the buyer journey.

No CC required.