One of These Things is Not Like the Others

If you grew up watching Sesame Street, you’ll get where we’re going with this. There used to be a segment they included in episodes where they would say, “One of these things is not like the others.”

These short clips would show three shoes and a boot – all things that go on your feet, but one is very different. Or, they might show three dogs and a cat – all animals, but again, one stands out. A favorite was when they would show four kids in quadrants, and one would be hanging upside down.

“One of these things is not like the others.”

A conversation this morning triggered our memory of this. We talked to a prospective client for the first time, one coming to us from an industry where the brands are generally traditional, old, and, frankly, dusty. Having spent some time on their website to prepare for our call, that’s the vibe we got.

During our intro, it quickly became clear that “One of these things is not like the others.” As we discussed the brand’s current position with their COO, it was immediately evident that their culture is young, energetic – and not dusty.

From a culture perspective and what drives them, they’re very different from their competitors. Unfortunately, the way they’re telling their story online isn’t. You’d never know that “One of these things is not like the others.”

Why this matters most to them and their reason for reaching out to us is interesting. This prospect is looking for something other than new client leads. They’re as busy as they can handle at the moment. What they really need more of is good people. Recruiting is their biggest challenge right now, and they need to sell prospective team members on why they’re different from all the other places they could work.

Our reason for sharing this today is simple. Focusing on how you differentiate your brand, specifically how you communicate that in your marketing, is the key to winning. You need to create that moment where customers and clients understand, “One of these things is not like the others.” Until you achieve that kind of clarity, you will continue losing opportunities and competing with brands that look just like you.

A great example of this is Liquid Death. We just listened to a How I Built This podcast episode with founder Mike Cessario, where he shared his concept of putting spring water in cans, backed by a brand personality that screams, “One of these things is not like the others.” At the end of the day, it’s “just” water. Backed by the right branding and story, it separates itself and becomes a company with annual revenues above $100M.

Create your own moments where people look at you and say, “One of these things is not like the others.” Every brand can do this, and has personality traits to build from. What you do with that is up to you, and it might require breaking some molds and not playing it safe.

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