Why Differentiation in Life and Marketing is So Cool

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Matt Feshbach Inspirations: "Think Different"Think Different,” by Steve Jobs, is my favorite marketing campaign of all time.

It inspires self-confidence, creativity and individuality. The campaign’s success also informs as to what people really care about: to be thought of and treated as unique. To me, the message speaks to the person as a spiritual being – not the DNA output of the body so often confused with the person himself.

Differentiation is what communicates to people. Unique brand names like Starbucks, Nike and Google invite interest and attention whereas generic names such as Drugstore.com, the Diamond Store and Books-a-Million are boring and unappealing. That is why you buy an “Apple,” not just a computer; you drink a “Starbucks,” not just a coffee; and you run in “Nikes,” not just in running shoes.

But differentiation is not just a marketing gimmick. It necessitates a visionary attain to higher standards of product quality, design and customer support – though not necessarily more expensive.

  • Amazon, a name that has nothing to do with books I might add, is better, faster and cheaper shopping.
  • Tiffany is different because of design, quality, location and its blue box and gets premium prices
  • Tesla makes the world’s first beautiful, safe electric vehicles that are amazing to drive.

Attention to every detail is part and parcel of differentiation. For example, it’s not just about having the first electric car for Tesla – the Volt came first, while Tesla came perfect. CompUSA died while Apple developed the ideal consumer experience.

In real estate it’s, “location, location, location.” In branding, it’s all about “differentiation, differentiation, differentiation.” And that requires perfection.

2 thoughts on “Why Differentiation in Life and Marketing is So Cool

  1. Hello Matt,

    Actually, even the Volt came about 60 years after the first electric car. And after that came the Volt, the Rav-4E and others, but Tesla thought different enough that the idea was wanted by others enough to keep it alive.

  2. Very cool. I always thought it would be good to have a positive effect with one’s slogan (e.g. Nike’s “just do it”, or Apple’s “think differently”. It’s important that what one communicates inspires others to greater action and creativity. Great writing on marketing!