Be distinctive, not different (Grow the Core Book Post 2)

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 16.41.20This is the second of a series of weekly posts introducing key themes from the new brandbgym book, Grow the Core: How to Focus on Your Core Business for Brand Success. Here, we look at one of the three key ways to grow the core: by being distinctive, not different.

The book is out on 4th Feb, but you can pre-order here if you like: on or

Marketers are often exhorted to "Differentiate or Die". But in reality, differentiation limits your potential to grow the
core. Differentiation drives you to seek out secondary
benefits. And this risks reducing your appeal, as you
have moved away from the middle-ground of the market and
the most important core benefits people want. This is OK if you are happy to be a niche "follower" brand. But not if you want to be a leader.

Leader brands are not differentiated. Rather, they have distinctive
marketing mixes. This allows them to express the core market benefits in a way that is more impactful and memorable. For example, O2 used a highly impactful blue and bubbly visual brand
world to stand out in the mobile network market. 

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The book goes into detail on the different ways you can create a distinctive marketing mix for your brand, including:

– Product: Nespresso's range of 16 ‘grands crus’ coffees with exotic
names also makes it distinctive from the more conventionally
presented competition. 

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– Identity: Nivea's little blue tin has stayed consistent for over 50 years, and remains at the heart of Nivea's identity

– Activation: Carling Black Label in South Africa created the "Be the Coach" campaign, allowing soccer fans to vote to pick the teams for a special cup match between South Africa's top 2 teams, the Kaiser Chiefs and The Orlando Pirates

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Look out next week for the thrid post, will look at the next key driver of core brand growth.