What it Means to be a Meaningfully Different Brand

Youngme Moon teaches business at Harvard and is the author of “Different – Escaping The Competitive Herd“.

In her closing she points to three characteristics of the brands of tomorrow – as they are driven to differentiate in order to succeed.

Here we summarize:

  1. “They will offer something that is hard to come by…restraint will be the new desire; whisper can be the new shout; there will always be a place for brands offering something that is hard to come by.”
  2. “They will reflect a commitment to a big idea…which is to say they won’t just be different in a litle way, they’ll be different in a big way; I would say the brands of tomorrow will be the ones that embrace this, even as they take that sharp left down the unpaved road.” 
  3. “They will be intensely human…which is to say they wil be conceived by individuals who are acutely sensitive to the complexities of the human spirit.”

In her book, Ms Moon is focused on the role of marketing and marketers. But the meaningfully different brand won’t (and can’t) come out of the marketing department. 

It might start there, but if the ambition isn’t embedded from the top to the bottom, from the left to the right, from the minds to the hearts of everyone in the firm – your efforts to differentiate via meaning will fail.

“Differentiation isn’t a tactic”, she concludes.

To which we would add, “And being meaningful won’t come from just an ad, an employee incentive campaign or a social media strategy”. 

Further reading on brand differentiation: Why the Best Brand Strategy Isn’t About your Brand: http://blog.dev-emotivebrand.pantheon.io/why-the-best-brand-strategy-isnt-about-your-brand

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.

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