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Monday, November 20, 2006

A Note on Differentiation

"I don't think we're so different, it's just that everyone's trying to be the same." -Pos Dnous

I, for one, am sick of using the phrase "sea of sameness" when referring to competitive advertising. Anyone else? I, especially, am getting tired of it because being that I'm on The Bahamas account, it's often followed up with "no pun intended" or "literally" by various team members. In fact, that phrase is so overused that our clients would be right to call us out for a "setup of sameness." And don't tell me that's not true of a lot of the marketing jargon.

Anyway, it's not so hard to stand out when the creative bar has been set so low in category, and from my experience, there's usually some brand that we strategically choose to ignore when showing this "sea" because they actually aren't quite that blue and wet. As we're helping companies (or governments in this case) differentiate and create salient communications, this is a reminder that different for different's sake isn't good enough and sooner or later, you're going to have to define what your brand is really about and live it.

Seems we're doing a fair amount of "Behind the Scenes" stuff lately to give people a peek inside the communications process from recaping strategy to showing all the elements of production. It's a step in the right direction of companies showing the real people, work, and often issues and challenges associated with communicating their brand. Not necessarily presupposing that people care, but taking one step toward being more interesting and transparent (than the past and than their competitors).

Forgot what site put me onto this (so apologies for no love), but have had a link to this video hanging out on my desktop for a while (so apologies if you've already seen it) and thought it was about time I pass it on. It's an old-school De la Soul press kit that defines there reason for being, authentically and unapologetically, and shows why it's easy to hop on board the "Soul Train." Okay, sorry. Roll the clip: