Surprisingly Obvious

A few years back, Jack Trout wrote a sharp critique of modern marketers. In In Search of the Obvious, Trout argues that many marketers today seem to be overlooking the key ingredient in their success formula: obvious differentiation.

Trout suggests that every brand with a hope of survival contains an "obvious" nugget of truth that makes it different from its competitors in the eyes of people. This nugget of truth could be something functional or experiential within the product, or it could be image-based and reside within the context of culture at large.

Read more

We think finding that obvious truth is more important than ever. But its only half the battle. A marketer's real job today is actually two-fold: first, to identify their brand's obvious marketing strategy; and second, to execute it in a way that seems surprising and compelling to people.

How to make the obvious surprising and compelling? By clearly understanding the difference between marketing strategy and creative strategy.

If marketing strategy is about identifying the key ingredients for brand success, creative strategy is about ensuring that those ingredients come together in a story that will be compelling to people. Unfortunately, the distinction between the two is often largely ignored, resulting in bland work that blends in rather than stands out.

Asking yourself two simple questions can help you avoid this common mistake.

1) Have I identified the obvious difference between my brand and its competitors?

2) Have I served it up in a surprising way that matters to people?

When the answer to both questions is "yes", you'll be well on your way to building a powerful brand.


Facebook X, formerly Twitter Linkedin