Life’s too short for beige! Colouring your brand to stand out from the pack

July 31, 2018

Are you different?

Do you stand out from the pack? Are you sure? If your products or services were de-identified and compared to your competitors, would your customers know the difference? 

Differentiating your brand is one of the hardest goals for companies, especially in competitive categories. Take cheese.

A few weeks ago my colleague was shopping in an American supermarket. One of those mega markets with a gazillion choices in each food category. He called me afterward to ask me if I’d heard of Old Croc Cheese.


You see, he was standing in front of a big display of cheeses. There were scores of cheeses from all over the world, in wheels or small round or square packages. But one brand immediately jumped out at him. Because it didn’t have a picture of a cow or a farmhouse. It had a picture of a crocodile!

He picked it up because he wanted to know what on earth a crocodile had to do with cheese. That was the immediate differentiator.

Then he read the tagline, which starts: ‘Australia cheese…’

There aren’t a lot of Australian cheeses sold in America, so that was another differentiator. And Australia is known for giant crocs, so that makes sense. But why put a crocodile on the logo? Why not a koala or kangaroo?

The tagline concludes: ‘…with a delightfully bold bite.’

You see, they sell white cheddars with a bold flavour, or bite.

Now their cheese may indeed be better than the dozens of American cheddars on display beside it. But that’s not what made the sale that day. What made the sale was their cleverness in expressing their product’s boldness in the branding itself, something the Wisconsin sharp cheddars failed to do.


Are you bold, or something else?

But you don’t have to be bold to differentiate your brand. Rolls Royce isn’t bold. You can be discreet, you can be conservative, you can even be modest. As long as this carries through to your messaging.

For instance, if you’re a superannuation company you probably don’t want to differentiate yourself as bold. Your customers are looking for security, not risk. They don’t want a strong bite. So how can you differentiate in cases like this? Well there are many ways. You can stress your history, your values, your partners. You can refer to rates of return. You can use testimonials. 


Testimonials or values

One of our clients in this space, VicSuper, is a not-for-profit with a long history of good governance. We stressed this. But you’d be surprised how many brands do have strong differentiators but fail to message them.


Do you deliver?

I’d like to say we did Old Croc’s branding at T&G. We didn’t. But I’m always glad to credit brands that get what branding is about, especially an Aussie brand competing in the mega markets of America.

But differentiating yourself in your marketing will only go so far. It will get you attention, and maybe a sale. But if you want repeat business, if you want to build brand loyalty, you have to deliver with the product itself. And that’s where a lot of brands that get the marketing right fall short. Their leadership hires crack branding and marketing teams but then doesn’t translate the promise back into the product, or continually iterate their product when their competitors catch up.

Does Old Croc translate their promise?

Try it for yourself and tell us what you think. Or better yet, tell them.


We’ll take more about differentiation and how to take advantage of this principle for YOUR business in future blogs. Stay Tuned!

Picture of Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor

MD & Head of Strategy and Research

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