Be Different. In A Good Way.

[Cache #197]

By Andris Pone

President, Coin Branding

Each of us has a profoundly deep desire to be different.  If we did not believe that we were unique, that we had some one-of-a-kind value to offer the people and world around us, life would hardly be worth living.

If you are trying to build a brand for you personally or for your company, the trick is figuring out how to say you are different in a way that is in fact different, because cliché is everywhere.

The distance one must travel to get to original can appear to be very short, but this can be a mirage, for it can also be surprisingly arduous. Consider the originality, elegance and clarity of Roomba, the name for the vacuum cleaner that moves around your home, automatically giving the sidestep to obstacles in its path.  Or take this tagline from TekSavvy, an upstart Internet service provider:

We’re different.  In a good way.

Looking at this statement on paper, so to speak, it does not exactly scream of genius.  This brand has claimed that it is different, which is not earthshatteringly different.  But there are two things that do in fact make it not just different, but full-on brilliant.  First is the addition of the qualifying term:  In a good way.  This doesn’t in itself seem like such a big deal, but second, and vastly more important, is the way they’ve used this slight twist as the creation mechanism for a cast of remark-ably original characters that brings TekSavvy’s messaging to life.

Here they are on the website:

And here are some of their “bios” and catchphrases:

And here they are in TekSavvy’s ad campaign:

Just as We’re different.  In a good way. does not scream of genius when viewed as dead ink on a page, when you peruse some of the most famous taglines and positioning statements in history, many of them give zero impression that they can be differentiating in any way.

Who would have thought that something as mundane as Time to make the donuts would become a legendary line for Dunkin’ Donuts? (check out the classic ad here)  Or that Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon? would be a mega-home run for the eponymous mustard-maker?

Here’s who:  The creatives and clients who understood that a great key message can only be as brilliant, or as differentiating, as its execution.

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