In this crowded world in which consumers are being bombarded with sensory overload, the first job of advertising is to get seen.

Mike was – and is – right. Brands ‘need to be different to be noticed’. In such a competitive and fast-moving world, short-term tactics won’t easily build sustainable brands. It’s uniqueness that helps you to stand out.

However, being different in advertising isn’t good enough. Now you must be distinctive first. That’s the means by which brands can engender stronger loyalties, providing memorable triggers that more immediately connect with an audience.


Being different in advertising isn’t good enough. Now you must be distinctive first


Advances in science have given us a greater understanding of how the brain works. We now know that the initial response to advertising is unconscious sensing, recognition and emotion. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science has subsequently provided irrefutable evidence of this as a factor in driving growth.

So advertising must use distinctive assets – that unique sticky glue – to trigger familiar memories. The Cadbury’s purple or the black and white of Guinness. Desirable, recognisable and ownable triggers that provide immediate brand cut-through.

And in this landscape, creativity becomes more essential to identifying who a company is, what makes it different and how it appeals to different people’s motivations.

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