A lot of our work is based along the lines of difference being good and indeed commercial. A recent tour round the leading thinkers in marketing and brand strategy seem to back up these theories. As people the idea of difference has been around for a long time. Ever since the Industrial Revolution made mass production possible companies have made more and more products. If we take a company such as Nike for example, and in particular there trainer ranges. If we look at a trainer fundamentally they all do the same thing so why the hundreds of different models? this though is in complete contrast to say a food product. Where a food company launches a product they are constantly revising their recipe and improving the taste, however what these companies should have been looking at is why don't we produce five or six different variations of the same food item so people can get exactly what they prefer?
This type of mass personalisation works for companies with very strong brand values. As long as the brand is clearly not been subverted or taken away from it's original feel/belief then why can't this be used on other less consumable items? Recently we have been working on a number of projects where we are actively encouraging our clients to choose a number of items (marketing collateral) to sell the same product/event. Just like the Nike scenario, people like different trainers and so in the same way people can also like different marketing collateral. This type of thinking has two advantages over traditional thinking. Firstly people will feel personally understood by the company trying to sell the product/event, secondly the difference will allow for far more dramatic/striking design and so difference will get you noticed above the rest of the crowd.