We hear the word “differentiation” in the world of marketing and branding very often. How can you differentiate from the competition? What is your secret sauce? In the land of brown cows, the “purple cow” stands out, as marketing guru Seth Godin puts it. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you want to become more successful, become more fulfilled, you need to take risks, you need to be different. This idea of swimming against the tide, doing the opposite in order to stand out is a very intuitive one. So why don’t most people or most organizations dare to be truly different?
Because being different requires a vision.
Because being different means we need to know who we are and be ok with it.
Because being different attracts scrutiny.
Being different is hard, but being different means you have a shot at being heard. In todays infinitely cluttered environment, we have no choice but to be different, to push on even if it’s hard.
When the world is forcing us to conform every single day, we need to find a sharp point of differentiation and slice through the sea of sameness.
All retail companies go crazy over the annual black friday sales event. Last year REI launched a #OptOutside campaign, closing all retail locations and online stores to get everyone outdoors. 6.7 billion media impressions, 1.2 billion social impressions, 1.4 million people committed to spending black friday outdoors and more than 150 other companies joined in the movement. You tell me if it’s worth swimming the other direction and sticking your neck out to do something different.