“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” — John Mason
In a world that’s over-crowded and over-flowing with competition, what makes some brands stand out? I’ve been trying to answer that question, and then I came across The Trouble with Brands, an article by John Gerzema and Ed Lebar.
It turns out, the answer is Energized Differentiation. That’s the term Gerzema and Lebar use for brands that stand out in how they communicate excitement, dynamism, and creativity.
Why Does Energized Differentiation Matter
Why does that matter? It’s actually a really big deal. According to Gerzema and Lebar, “The unique measure of energized differentiation establishes a direct link between brand momentum and creativity, financial earnings, and stock performance. “ They also found that, “The more energy they have, the greater consideration, loyalty, pricing power, and brand value (as a percentage of firm value) they command.”
On the flip side, It’s also a big deal because it turns out that the classic way of measuring brand equity, by measuring 4 attributes (trust, awareness, regard, and esteem), just isn’t working anymore.
Whether you are a solo-preneur, a blogger, a company, or a corporate warrior, differentiation is the name of the game. And Energized Differentiation is how you win.
3 Keys to a High Energy Brand
According to Gerzema and Lebar, the three keys to a high energy brand are:
- Vision – how the company presents leadership, convictions, and reputation.
- Invention – how consumers perceive innovation in the design or content of the product or service.
- Dynamism – how the brand creates a persona, emotion, advocacy, and evangelism.
Some examples of high energy brands include Adida, iPhone, McDonald’s, Nike, Walmart, JetBlue, and Virgin Atlantic.
Energy is Where the Action Is
Gerzema and Lebar write:
“But energy is where the action is. It reflects the consumer’s perception of motion and direction. It sustains the brand’s advantages. High-energy brands create a constant sense of interest and excitement. Consumers sense that these brands move faster, see farther, and are more experiential and more responsive to their needs.”
I like the visionary, fluid and flexible picture this paints.
Differentiation is Offering, Uniqueness, and Distinction
According to Gerzema and Lebar, differentiation is how a consumer perceives three brand attributes:
- Offering – the products, services, or content.
- Uniqueness – the brand’s essence, positioning, and equity.
- Distinction – the reputation of the brand.
You can take a look at your offering, uniqueness, and distinction in light of the three keys to a high energy brand.
Relevancy is Still King
Gerzema and Lebar write:
“Without relevance, the brand will languish. The brand may stand out with energy but have no meaning to consumers. Relevance is the pathway to strong consideration, trial, preference, and ultimately share of wallet. This is especially important in today’s downward-spiraling market.”
This makes perfect sense. The way to stay connected is to stay relevant.