“If you don't get noticed, you don't have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks”  Leo Burnett 

I’m watching House of Cards. It’s excellent. It’s so good, in fact, it’s made my life a lot easier. I downgraded my Virgin subscription and got rid of thousands of things I never watched. I’d rather have a smaller selection of great new stuff from Netflix than options over every show produced in the last 20 years.

‘Everything in one place’ has been a natural progression of many categories, not just entertainment. Seeking to stand out and make it easy for customers by offering a ‘complete’ range of things in one place, whether this be an enormous shopping shed or an online portal.

Look at what’s happened with Insurance comparison sites, supermarkets and entertainment providers. All spent years broadening the range they offer to ostensibly give people more choice.

But there comes a point where ‘everything you can find everywhere else, in one place’ no longer makes you different. It makes you exactly the same. It makes you invisible.

That’s why many businesses are changing their approach, placing increased emphasis on exclusive content. 

Netflix originals include: Narcos, Making of a Murderer, Stranger Things & the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. 

Amazon has: Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, The Man in the High Castle

Boots has a range of branded offers exclusively available to them including: No 7, Soap and Glory, Botanics,

All the big 4 supermarkets are seeking to make brands a common denominator in people’s decision making whilst placing greater emphasis on their own label offering.

Creation of unique propositions becomes a way to attract customers, drawing them into a wider network of offers. It gives focus to development and communication

Having something that others don’t gets you noticed and makes you different. 

But this isn’t a new idea. Being appealing and being different always part of building brands.

The point is that remaining unique means evolving. It’s very easy for what once was a point of difference to simply become a hygiene factor. Category dynamics change, competitors improve…

Very quickly you can become part of the crowd, struggling to stand out on factors that are no longer driving consumer choice.

Whatever the industry or sector brands need to challenge themselves to know “what things am I doing or making that help me be uniquely desirable”. This might manifest as new products, services, channels… but it needs to be something people value that you do better.

It means understanding what the points of parity and the points of differentiation are. What things are simply expected and what things help you meaningfully stand out.

Knowing this helps you focus on the things that will make people think and feel differently, rather than reinforcing what they already know, or just don’t care about.

Do we really need to know beer is refreshing, yoghurts are healthy or that tyres handle the road?

Show us something new and get noticed. Playing safe doesn’t mean following the crowd, it means standing out from it.