Still, all distinctiveness efforts are not born equal. Brands can choose to minimize their use of this key strategic asset. Here's the latest ad from Bud Light which illustrates the point. Call it a "dash of distinctiveness" in an otherwise unrelieved parade of celebrity-rich ads intended to be entertaining. Or amusing. Or something.
Isn't there something more substantive about the formula, ingredients, brewing process, or taste profile of the beer that makes it better for the party? Something that might prompt folks to choose it over Miller Lite or Coors Light, beers routinely priced identical to Bud Light? Forget the Bud Light party, isn't there a reason to choose this beer for your party?
Finding and focusing on the critical distinctiveness of the brand is a beer marketer's greatest challenge. And it's not easy. It demands marketing management engage in a process of thoughtful investigation, creativity, and critical decision-making. Settling on the key product-distinctiveness strategic message is rightly marketing leadership's Job #1. Ad agencies can help, but the responsibility is not theirs. The chief marketing officer is the chief distinctiveness officer, too.
The other extreme
So, if Bud Light is the poster child for minimal distinctiveness, is there a brand on the other end of the scale?
Maybe this one. And it doesn't even advertise on television!
In choosing this route to distinctiveness, Colorado Native made the tough call to focus, and by doing so, also to exclude. You can almost hear the inevitable naysayer at the marketing decision table worrying, "Won't we be alienating folks in Wyoming?"
The truth is, distinctiveness acts as a magnet. The combination of simplicity and focus in the service of a provocative and appealing product story is irresistible. Proof? Colorado Native is reportedly enjoying back-to-back years of 20% volume growth. By comparison, after SuperBowl ads and tens of millions of media dollars, Bud Light's low-to-no-distinctiveness campaign has yet to reverse the brand's multi-year decline.