A brand pivots off its differences. To generate desire and addiction it must clearly annunciate its differences both from a product and brand perspective. It should be clear to the consumer why a brand is different from its competition from both a rational and emotional perspective. Sometimes there is no rational differentiator. In this case the brand will focus entirely on emotional differentiation.
Take bleach for example. There is no obvious functional superiority between the supermarket’s own-brands and the brands. Domestos realised this in the early 80s and decided that they needed to differentiate emotionally through personality and archetype. Rather than position the brand as the “Housewife’s friend” they realised that bleach, far from being a friend, is the household assassin that goes around and kills all the germs and keeps the place (palace) safe.
To this end they used the archetype of the warrior and in particular, Hercules. Searching for the most modern manifestation of Hercules they re-interpreted Dirty Harry as “Big Bad Dom” and Domestos, now clearly differentiated, has never looked back.
In 2013 Renault Trucks took a similar tack. All trucks pretty much deliver the same rational proposition: load capacity, driver comfort and fuel economy. The big guns, Scania, Mercedes, Volvo, Iveco and DAF all try and position themselves as the “King”. “King of the Road”. In that situation with almost all the market saying exactly the same thing, Renault Trucks differentiated.
They observed that the one variable in the increasingly automated world of haulage was the driver. He used to be the pioneer that explored the open road, sought adventure and reached for the horizon. Now they are unappreciated, form fillers, reduced to adherence to strict timetables, rules and regulations. If the truck companies could automate the driver they would.
Renault Trucks also knew that some of the biggest reasons for margin erosion are: bad driving leading to higher maintenance, fuel and servicing costs, recruitment (because unmotivated drivers move on) and training because new drivers needed training. Renault Trucks realised they could differentiate by playing the rebel. In fact, the original rebel, Prometheus.
Unlike the competition they could fight for drivers, make them proud. Moreover, design a truck that would look the part, build self-esteem and motivate drivers. Rather than play the king they would play the rebel, rather than fight for automation they would invest in pride, driver pride.
A proud driver would literally deliver more profit.