All posts filed under: Innovation

Is brand differentiation still possible

Is brand differentiation still possible?

Short answer – yes it is, but not in the way it was. I haven’t met a brand manager yet who didn’t tell me that they had a differentiated product. I’m not surprised. It’s part of the job description of any brand owner to be marketing something that is disruptive, market-changing, blue-ocean, category-killing … 15 years on from when I first suggested “parity is the real pariah”, every brand’s still talking up difference – but consumers are increasingly hard pressed to see any.

Grappling with pushback

Grappling with pushback

When you’re hard at work on ambitious projects, it’s a given that the team is pushing the boundaries of what would have been considered sensible. I choose those words carefully – “would have”, because these projects are always about ways forward but are often judged on references back; and “sensible” because that’s the filter that so many people put across the recommendations they get.

Fighting the fadar

We now have greater access to ideas than ever before, but the ideas themselves, it seems to me, have a much shorter half-life. New thinking, new people, new everything are presented to us at a dizzying pace – in editorial, feeds, slide decks, talks, videos, articles, almost everywhere one cares to look. In an age of instant celebrity and content marketing, thoughts and variations of thoughts are being championed from every social soapbox. Ideas have become fashion – because they are marketed to us as fashions. And like fashion, most will barely outlive the press release that trumpeted them. A proliferation of lists across the media adds to the sense of volatility. The “fadar” is how I describe the promulgation of ideas fighting for our collective and individual attention across every aspect of the cultural landscape. Some will shine. Many won’t get the chance. Others will bedazzle on first view only to burn out well before they hit paydirt … (Ironically, as an idea in its own right, the fadar is of course subject to …

Handpicked – the wider opportunity of curation

The first time I really thought about the role of an astute retailer was while watching Mary Portas. Her point: any retailer can stock. Smart and profitable retailers, by contrast, handpick items that their shoppers will crave – and that is where they add value. In a great shop, she was saying, you don’t just come to buy, you come to discover things you wouldn’t normally find housed together. Fine point, well made. These days, curation is all the rage. As Trendwatching so rightly observed in an article aptly titled “Everyone’s a curator now”, what used to pass for selecting, choosing or finding (Didn’t we once call that editing?) has been transformed into the more scholarly-sounding art of curating. That’s hardly surprising, Trendwatching observes, given the massive levels of choice that consumers now face, nor it is actually that new. In fact, the idea morphed out of the art galleries more than a decade ago, and really picked up pace with the arrival of Facebook, iPod playlists and Flickr. To Steve Rosenbaum, author of Curation …