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Most products and services in the market are ‘very good’ and efforts to ‘differentiate’ essentially actually are efforts to make a product/service even more ‘very good.’ Remarkable products and services make the market uncomfortable. Sometimes they’re not ‘liked’ because remarkable means outstanding and threatening. got laughed at in school when they raised their hands to suggest ideas or demeaned in any other way learned that in order to be safe it’s best to keep their mouths shut. They take these memories into the organizations they work for and continue to play safe even though many times they have brilliant ideas. In some cases they’re game changers such as M-Pesa, AirBnB, Uber just to name a few. For certain, the minds behind differentiated products are not scared to push the envelope, to take risks, to leave the herd and to do the ‘unlikable’ thing. They’d so sing along to Pink’s “Raise your glass if you are wrong.” Learning to differentiate requires unlearning. It starts from an individual accepting his/her already unique attributes. In essence that’s what self- branding experts emphasize; that as it is as an individual you’re already different. The next step is identifying what it is that makes you unique and then the third and possibly the hardest step is communicating your uniqueness. That’s what it takes to be different, an openness to ‘wrong,’ and as Seth Godin emphasizes, it starts from long before production. It requires an entire mind shift that questions orthodoxies and is willing to embrace novelties. But how do you pull that off when the people behind product development don’t like the label ‘weird?’ People who Then after we accept ourselves as unique we should accept others as unique; that it’s ok if they’re not like you. When we accept our differences then we can begin to think differently about the products and services we offer. This obviously is an initiative that has to start from the top, with leadership going beyond ‘we have an open door policy’ to actually creatively thinking about, “How can we actually draw ideas from our staff and customers?” Once staff realize that they can share their thoughts without facing repercussions then unique ideas will flow and ultimately will find their way to products and services. That’s how to go, an open mind. Most of course will say, “I’m very open minded.” Test yourself then, do something ‘crazy’ (and I mean crazy not immoral or illegal). Like if you’re a man, wear a tie with pink angry birds or a Mickey Mouse hat… something. And then after that, we can start to see some really cool differentiated products in the market like chocolates with teddy bears perhaps… and not just for Valentine’s day! Marion Wakahe is a marketing enthusiast. You can engage her on this or related matters via mail at: MWakahe@ Your Marketing & Sales Masters EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING MERCHANDISING PROMOTIONAL STAFF OUTSOURCED SALES TEAM DIGITAL MARKETING +254 716 320 697 +254 739 376 555