The Urgency of Distinction

by Holland-Mark | December 3, 2010

Chicken with Mole Sauce.A nice shot of chicken smothered in mole sauce just caught my eye on Facebook. Yum.

I clicked it, checked it out, and moved on. It’s a Mexican restaurant someplace near Fenway, forget the name, and it’s hard to imagine the mole is worth the parking hassle.

And thus ends my interaction with this brand.

In sharp contrast, whenever I explain how small businesses can take a big-time approach to social marketing – once or twice a week, collectively to thousands over the past year or so – I highlight my beloved Craigie on Main.

Why is this? Is CoM really that much better a restaurant than Pablo whats-its-name?

To be honest I have no idea. I made a connection to Craigie, and it’s stuck. No connection to Pablo, hasta-la-vista.

At some level this is a nuanced, cosmic thing. Alchemy. People connect or they don’t. You hit them right and get The Snuggie. You hit them wrong and get the Gut-B-Gone (don’t ask). It’s not a creative thing… you can’t really control it as an agency.

What you can do, though, to increase your odds of leaving SOME kind of a first impression en route to some level of engagement is be distinctive. Be unique. Have a product that’s different from everyone else, in some obvious and compelling way, and put that point of difference at the center of your communication.┬áIt’s hardly a new idea, but it’s never been more important.

Craigie on Main is different. It’s real. I expect something from them that reflects the care and attention of people who love food, and I get it on every plate and in every cocktail and at every touch of this restaurant. It’s tangible. I can see it, and I can taste it.

So how is what you’re selling distinct from your competition, really, in a way that’s sufficiently compelling to earn the second glance that is EVERYTHING in the age of social media?