About a third of the US youngsters (36%) try to buy unique brands in order to be different. Apart from brands such as iPhone and Apple, other so-called ‘badge items’ (i.e. products which give you a certain identity towards others, such as mobile phone, shoes, clothing, drinks away from home) are also in the top 10 of most unique brands. But how can today’s brands be unique in a world where the competition copies innovations within a few months, or where they imitate campaigns?
The bottom-line is often that they build their brand around a unique value or a view of the world, rather than around the product itself. We should be able to summarize a brand’s uniqueness in 1 or 2 words. For Apple those would be ‘design’ and ‘user-friendliness’. Both Diesel and Levi’s are quoted as unique by about 1 out of every 3 US youngsters, whilst both being jeans brands. But for Levi’s this uniqueness equals affordable quality with a tradition, whereas Diesel stands for character, personality and style.
Some hot takeaways for cool brand builders:
- Gen Y is sceptical about product novelty or a brand’s uniqueness, but it’s all about how youth perceives a brand’s major claims as consistent
- Youth talks about the brands they perceive as unique and buys brands on recommendation
- The positive perception of your brand’s uniqueness will thus lever your brand’s preference and recommendation
- Claiming your brand’s DNA in all details (including retail packaging and so on) will support a consistent positioning
- Choose the right battlefields to stress in communication: those close to your DNA that are of importance to the buyers of your competitors as well
- Brand identities act as somatic markers or memes
- Marketing situations and environments are continuously evolving: specifically in youth markets, brands need to adapt to changing memes
Source: How Cool Brands Stay Hot – Chapter Five: We all want unique brands
More research results on uniqueness are available in this global Gen Y research report by InSites Consulting: