So What is the Total Cost of Differentiation? The ROI of Brand Success for Sustainable Growth.

So you would like to guarantee differentiation? Short of an exhaustive competitive analysis in your market, and understanding of your target markets needs, desires, and preferences, and critical and technical review of your product and engineering teams capabilities and the fit with your product strategy……What if there was a mathematical formula for describing total differentiation and its linkage to success in your market?

[Template] Formula for Recognizing Successful Brand


1. Our company C_________ is the only one in category K __________ that provides the unique benefit of B __________for our target customer segment S__________.

2. In fact, C_________ is the only company that has access to the world’s best resources R __________ (or People P______________who are certified experts in discipline D__________. )

3. The way you can trust this is by reviewing our results R __________ in the Neutral third party publication N __________, which is available free.

4. The way we ensure that all people in our target customer segment S know about us and believe our story, success, and see our results and reviews is by executing a series of media campaigns or Tactics T______________ with minimal cost and maximal coverage.

*C Company could be Product Brand Name

The Total

Cost of Change. To get a full ROI for such a total differentiation strategy, You (the CEO, CMO and CFO) have to get all the costs right (and adjust them as they prove to vary from original estimates) that go into the decisions, executions, and course-corrections necessary to make this a real active growth strategy — over the whole life of its execution. Doing that correctly requires process, tools, discipline and whole lot of reminders. And those costs will include everything and every person put to use:

  1. The layers of management (indirect costs and overhead),
  2. SG&A attributed to this effort,
  3. Agencies, staff hours, temp staff hours, fully-loaded of course,
  4. Allocated time for all the submissions, approvals, meetings, reviews, rejections, parties, celebrations, denials, surprises,
  5. New hires, fires, changes and so on.
  6. This will also include changing the product, partners, integration, story,
  7. Evolving the Brand identity, visual representations, media partners, media execution, media costs.

If you change just the story and messaging, you create a potential Liability in the Gap between product truth and story truth. That liability is currently beyond representation in your balance sheet, but it will find you via social media. Remember that each adjustment made to costs and revenues from forecasts, represent potential learnings for individuals, teams and the company as whole. Mistakes about estimation of future costs and revenues are not personal shortcomings, they are opportunities for iterative refinement in forecasting skills. Embrace the process of execution.

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