Different - Youngme Moon

Different - Youngme Moon

Understand how breaking the common sense barrier to finding your differential can be the formula for business success.

Have you ever wondered how many products we have on the market today? And how many model versions can we find of a single product? In the midst of an explosion of options, it is sometimes difficult to see the differential of each brand that catches our attention and makes it stand out from the others.

Against this backdrop, Youngme Moon presents us with alternatives to revolutionize the consumer culture, demonstrating how a company can act to become the center of attention.

In addition to the courage to break with business linearity, you need to have smart strategies to reach your differential.

In this summary of the book "Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd", we'll show you how to get out of sameness to make your business really different and promising!

About the book "Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd"

Published in 2010, "Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd", contains 304 pages.

Divided into 3 chapters, the author Youngme Moon reviews current sales strategies.

Through the case study of major brands like Apple, Google, Dove, Microsoft, she tries to explain how marketing becomes more effective when it risks to leave the comfort zone.

About the author Youngme Moon

Youngme Moon is a professor of business administration at Harvard University.

Occupying prominent positions throughout her career, she has received awards for her research distinction, such as HBS for Excellence in Teaching.

As the first Asian-American woman to remain on Harvard faculty, the author also serves on the board of directors of Unilever, Rakuten, Sweetgreen and Warby Parker.

To whom is this book indicated?

This book is suitable for people who work with business or entrepreneurs who want to leverage the success of their company through the courage to chart new directions in the business world.

It is also valid for anyone who wants to start a business and seeks to not camouflage themselves in the standard sales and marketing zone, avoiding just becoming another retail product.

Main ideas of the book "Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd"

  • Market competition makes consumer categories more similar rather than differentiated;
  • The differences that brands try to highlight between competing products are the result of imitations of each other, which make these minimally noticeable;
  • Those people who dare to break with the normativity of the market become visionary;
  • Companies and brands should look for acting beyond what is constantly on the market;
  • In order to innovate or improve a brand, it may be necessary to think contrary to the guidelines and truths set in business.

In this summary, we will demonstrate the tools implemented by the Youngme Moon in her business to stand out against the competition: The competitive herd, without occurrence (a celebration), the human touch (a reflection).

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[Book Summary] Different - Youngme Moon

Overview: The Competitive Herd

The author starts describing a random scene of our lives.

When we go to the supermarket to buy a home item, for example, we come across the most diverse models of the same product. And we must choose one from a range of options.

In order to save time, we focus our attention on some specific feature of choice: the cheapest, the lightest, the most practical, etc. That is, the differences between each other have become so tiny that we look at a product, but we really don't see it.

In the market, brands that stand out in certain strengths have this advantage as a parameter of advancement for other companies. In this way, the competition runs behind to level with who is at the top.

This process of competition makes companies actually achieve an overall market average. This movement is termed by Youngme Moon as "competitive herd", where they attenuate the differences rather than accentuating them.

So how can we make sure our product doesn't get hit by a flood of new varieties of competing options?

To achieve this differential that arouses the customer's eye and interest, the author analyzes some behaviors of companies that end up boycotting themselves.

When you want to perfect some product, you may be repeating more of it if you are applying everyday marketing strategies.

If every company takes the same actions, we will come across a market that only creates similar subsegments of products.

On the one hand, it may sound interesting as it is the way to reach a diverse audience of customers. On the other hand, improvements do not add so much value.

The author calls this phenomenon the paradox of progress.

In the absence of quirk products, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to build customer loyalty bonds. Their real interest must be aroused.

Some brands push the boundary of the conventional, thriving through diverging consumer opinions to gain trust. This posture developed by some brands can be considered "hostile", because they are not afraid to reach the unthinkable.

An example given in the book "Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd" is the IKEA group. The brand has decided to stick to its initial ideals by meeting practicality when buying home furnishings.

The customer must travel a long distance to the store, buy the furniture, transport it alone and assemble without help. The store does not provide any of these standard services.

Faced with this innovation, buying at IKEA has become a totally different and challenging experience for people, awakening a differential never seen before. Today, IKEA is one of the most valuable brands in the world.

Overview: No Competition

According to Youngme Moon, when something goes very well, the methodology behind it tends to serve as a parameter for other situations to work as well.

In the logic of the market, this "herd effect" presupposes a comfortable and safe way to achieve success.

However, there is not always only one direction to achieve this goal.

By the time the internet was expanding, search engines like Yahoo! appeared with diversified features on their homepage, offering services beyond search as horoscopes, reports, advertisements, among others.

Other sites tried to follow the same direction until it appeared Google and did the opposite. The company's website started simple, clean and objective in its purpose of being just a search engine. This impacted the technology sectors at the time!

Surprising everyone by taking a reverse approach and offering what we thought we no longer needed (simplicity) was Google's right strategy.

The great lesson we can draw from this example is that it is not always the needy to perfect something that already exists. Simplifying the proposal also adds value.

Brands that adopt reversal, break with conformism and hostility postures have a high chance of actually finding their differential.

Youngme Moon says that many products and their brands follow the current logic of consumption to dictate the rules of sales. However, people's behavior is not unchangeable.

New demands and twists can happen and the company must be susceptible to change. But these need not necessarily be "herd" behavior!

Your business can fully understand people's new tastes without having to redefine your product as other brands would. That's where the creativity of the company to reinvent in a unique way comes in!

Overview: The Human Touch

We admire people who have revolutionary ideas. We often think to ourselves, "Why haven't I had this idea before?", or, "I've thought of something similar! That means it could have worked".

If we dared to put much of the ideas into practice, that we discarded because we didn't think they were good enough, we could be billing like Apple!

The book "Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd", advises that fear is a great enemy, especially when we think we are not yet ready to develop that idea.

One lesson the author's mentor teaches her is that you should not worry about being 100% right or prepared all the time. Failure is normal.

Instead of trying to reach perfection, how about focusing on those 2% more interesting that people overlook?

The author presents us with two convictions that are essential to her. The first is that there will be value in what is uneven. The second is that there will be value in the provocation.

What she means is that the way you do business has been lost because of everyone's obsession with becoming different. But, after all, what is being different? What makes your product genuinely differentiated from others in the same category?

Also, when we see IKEA building its reputation on negative points, we think how controversial that can be. However, analyzing the case of the brand, it appears that its contradiction and transparency is something that bothers, but works.

The pain and delight of business paradoxes are that nothing has undeniable truths. You can try to perfect your product by adding whatever turns out to be a brand in the same category offering the least and winning the entire customer base.

And people will defend and be true to the brand because they are tired of the usual samenesses; they thirst for the different!

It turns out that we can all do more than we think, if we think better about how to do it. Differentiation is not a tactic; It is a way of thinking, a commitment to do the best, but in the best way as possible.

In the business world, there will always be the 'herds', but there will also be the exceptions, which are the exceptional brands. These assume for themselves that the status quo is not unchangeable.

What do other authors say about it?

In "Disrupt You!" Jay Samit says that innovative ideas have the power to transform the world and disrupt the system. For you to unleash a disruptive profile, you need to plan your goals and be susceptible to both internal and external changes.

In the book "Innovation and Entrepreneurship", the author Peter Ferdinand Drucker defends the theory that creativity and innovation are not acts of genius, but a study, pursuit, and planning that requires discipline to follow systematic steps. He believes that to innovate requires discipline to apply the right techniques.

Finally, in "Innovate or Die", Luiz Guimarães introduces a proposal that seeks to modernize and innovate companies to adapt them to the digital age, focusing mainly on customers. The work brings reflections that help to better understand the changes and their causes, besides stating that it is not necessary to be a startup to innovate.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

Youngme Moon gives you three tips for challenging yourself to start a new cycle in your business:

1. Offer something hard to find

This is not to say that you need to sell an extremely rare product. Think of new ways to market the existing ones so as to set you apart from the competition.

This process is not just about marketing, it is about stimulating your creative vision to understand your consumer beyond the conventional look.

2. Reflect a commitment to a great idea

Great ideas will come from those people who allow themselves to open minds! Commit to freeing yourself from prejudices and exploring all possibilities of ideas.

3. Be extremely human

Differentiated brands are headed by people who have the sensitivity to understand human complexity. Really know your audience and produce your marketing for real people!

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Book 'Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd'

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