Opinion

The uniqueness obsession

We all believe that our brand and business is unique, that no-one else could possibly do what we do, that we are the one and only. But is an obsession with uniqueness necessarily true, or even helpful for our business and brand?

We all want our brand to stand out from the crowd, but too often when managing a brand it is forgotten that we still need to be seen as a part of a crowd in order to then stand out from it.

The only way we can stand out from a crowd is to initially be seen as a part of that crowd.

Part of the identifying features of a brand is in its similarities to other relevant brands. Take Coca-Cola – they sell a fizzy drink, in cans and bottles, to people, through various third parties, using aspirational messaging. So do their competition. Just because other brands have similarities doesn’t mean that Coca-Cola should stop showing these features of the brand, as they are features which people need to know in order to put Coca-Cola in the same ‘crowd’ as their competitors.

It is not only the points of difference which create your brand identity, but also the points of parity.

When managing a brand it is vital not to become obsessed with uniqueness. Not everything your brand does should be unique. It can’t be. The brand must be understood to be a part of a ‘crowd’ first – a crowd which has specific features in which people are interested. Only once you have defined the crowd in which your brand exists can you begin to create some level of differentiation, in order to try and stand out.

Part of what defines us is that which makes us the same as others. This is true for people and the same is true for brands.

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