Be Distinctive, Not Different

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Be Distinctive, Not Different

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Brands unlock valuable creativity when they have a system.

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We used hard science to see how this system can be successful. Check out our blog post here.

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We’ll be breaking down the difference between differentiation and distinctiveness.

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Which of the two unlocks the potential for true brand innovation?

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Let’s begin.

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What is brand differentiation and brand distinctiveness? DIFFERENTIATION DISTINCTIVENESS there is a different perceived meaning behind every brand (the “reason to buy” for the consumer) a brand’s ability to stand out so that buyers can easily identify it (a brand looking like itself)

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Should brands aim to be different or distinctive?

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For years, marketers have been told to differentiate themselves, lest their brand face eternal doom.

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However, research has shown that brand perception scores actually tend to be quite similar.

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“Consumers simply don’t perceive brands within a category as being particularly different.” — Byron Sharp, How Brands Grow

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So what does that mean for brands?

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Brands shouldn’t pour money into appearing different, or creating a category apart from their competitors, as customers don’t need to see differentiation to buy into a brand.

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Distinctiveness is far more critical for brands, as they need customers to quickly notice, recognize, and recall their brand over others.

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How can a brand be distinctive?

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Distinctive elements show customers what brand something is.

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These elements are critical, as they play to the neuroscience that helps construct and reinforce memories.

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In establishing brand elements, brands should aim for: UNIQUENESS PREVALENCE customers don’t associate a brand’s assets with those of a competitor the majority of customers link your brand to your brand element

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More on uniqueness If a brand element is unique to your brand, every time a customer sees it, they can strengthen the memory structure linking that element to your brand, increasing likelihood of buying in the future. Uniqueness simply makes your brand more identifiable.

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More on prevalence Prevalence can’t be built overnight, or with one single instance. The element-to-brand link, which signals a brand to a consumer, is built through consistency over time.

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Uniqueness and prevalence together help establish brand distinctiveness.

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Distinctive brands, in turn, are thought of more often and are able to achieve greater market share.

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Ultimately, then, such positioning can help brands grow their customer bases in the long run.

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What have we learned? 1. Brands should aim to be distinctive, rather than different Brands must establish distinct brand elements in order to win in the marketplace.

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What have we learned? 1. Brands should aim to be distinctive, rather than different Brands must establish distinct brand elements in order to win in the marketplace. 2. Uniqueness and prevalence help establish distinctiveness Brands must consistently and relentlessly uphold those brand elements over time, in order to create a retrievable impression in consumer’s memory.

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You can read the full story on how to grow your brand on the Percolate blog: Be Distinctive, Not Different

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Percolate is The System of Record for Marketing. 
 Our technology helps the world's largest and fastest-growing brands at every step of the marketing process. Want to learn more? Contact [email protected] for more information or request a demo today at Kat Gebert Kat Gebert is on the Product Marketing team at Percolate.

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