Difference separates brands rising in value from brands declining
Innovation and creativity sustain Difference, drive growth
Difference emerged as the most important factor determining what brands increased or decreased in value in the 2020 BrandZ™ Global Top 100.
Difference (standing out and setting trends) is one of the three BrandZ™ components of brand equity, along with Meaningful (relevantly meeting functional and emotional needs), and Salience (coming to mind easily when making a purchase decision).
Both rational and emotional factors produce Difference. Rational factors include product quality, service delivery, and corporate reputation—especially responsibility. Emotional components include brand experiences, heritage, provenance, and aesthetics, such as design. Positive engagement can lead to strong consumer affinity and trust, especially when consumers believe the brand aligns with their values.
Two factors—Creativity and Innovation—principally drive and sustain Difference. Creativity is the capacity to produce imaginative or original ideas. Innovation is the application of that capacity—typically with products or services that are new and distinctive.
That Creativity and Innovation are essential ingredients for success became obvious during the Covid-19 crisis, when brands anticipated people’s changing needs and met them with original solutions. Going forward, brands that can provide products and services that are unusual, useful—different—will achieve a competitive advantage.