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To bump-start my brain on Monday morning, I read five different things, only to find they were all on the same subject - differentiation.

Seems like more and more people are deciding not to jump aboard the Mental Availability bandwagon.

First was Dave Trott’s article about the launch of Strand cigarettes in the 60’s and how maybe the failure wasn’t all about people finding the classic loner ad too lonely. Maybe it was also because you could have put any old cigarette brand into that ad.

And as Dave says: “in order to break into an established market, you need a point of difference.”

Next was Dave Harland with his post, ‘How to stop people dying from yawning thing’. Number 2 of his 6 ways was simply to ‘say what makes you better than all the other options’. Should be a difference in there somewhere.

Then George Tannenbaum, who shows his difference as a writer by writing a blog every single day. He explained his strategy in his post, ‘Advice from Trott, Descartes and me’: “If you can find a way to position yourself differently - the same way you help major companies position themselves - you can earn more mindshare.”

And then an actual example. Campaign had a story about MoneySuperMarket. They’re still No.2 in price comparison but struggling. It’s led to a second repositioning since 2019.

The focus has now switched to the number of ways they can save people more money through their new ‘MoneySuperSeven’ action heroes, each one an expert in an area of comparison.

It all sounds rather rational compared to feeling ‘epic’ and becoming ‘money calm’. But as Mel Stonier at MoneySuperMarket explained: “We’re getting straight to the point…we can save Britain more money, in more ways - and that’s our differentiation.”

Maybe in a world of meerkats and opera singers, she’s right.

And as the arc of my morning narrative became clear, I read Charles Vallance’s ‘Here and now’ article about the dominant ‘Immediacy’ trend in so many categories - takeaways, grocery deliveries, buying and selling cars, getting a loan, even laptop start-up times.

I realised in the process he was also highlighting the problem of brands all following the same dominant trend. You all end up in the same place.

So I sense a new trend emerging. A timely reminder for brands old and new.

Have a point of difference.

As long as it makes a difference, of course.


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