Different AND Desired.

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In just about every marketing consulting meeting I attend the word “differentiated” comes up. It’s a word marketing directors love. Sadly, most think messaging can differentiate their products. True differentiation in marketing, positioning and branding comes straight from the product.

What I do as a brand planner, in my search for things that are “different and desired,” is to diagnose. Webster’s defines the word as “to know apart from” or “to distinguish.” Most look at the word diagnose and think medical. In a meeting this week someone said about my work “You are really like a detective, aren’t you?” Good strategic planners are diagnosticians and detectives. Both look for problems. But brand planners must look, too, for positives. The Coke Happiness campaign, being the ultimate positive. We know positive is better than negative, though B2B clients don’t always roll that way.

Good brand briefs serve up the positive by understanding the negative. A smart card marketer selling to K12 schools, for instance, knows security is a major issue today. It also knows that proper attendance and every hour spent in a class room can improve learning – an educational positive. Finding an idea that works both angles is the heavy lifting. A company like that wants differentiation. A line. A website. The planner wants the strategy. One that diagnoses the problem yet serves up the proper positive medicine.

Peace you all.