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Customer Review

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet Powerful Introduction to Real Differentiation, June 7, 2010
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This review is from: Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd (Hardcover)
The core concept of Different, that unfocused and short-sighted competition breeds sameness that ultimately hurts all parties involved, is so elegantly simple that it's easy to take Youngme Moon's work for granted. Different is very approachable and written in a colloquial manner instead of what might be expected in a traditional business text, and thus appeals to a broad audience. It assumes very little about the reader's business knowledge and instead relies on familiar brands such as Harley Davidson, IKEA, Red Bull, etc. to drive the point. Even if some of the brands are unfamiliar, Youngme is very good at identifying particular traits and extracting a brand's essence. For me, one of the most compelling comparisons was the parallel between companies deadlocked in competition and the autonomous self-organizing and directional behavior of migrating birds.

From the beginning, the author says that Different is the start of a conversation and not a how-to. It is successful from that perspective, but at the same time, since it never really gets in-depth, I found myself unsatisfied and wanting more. Each of the discussed brands justifies its own in-depth analysis, and Different only really scratches the surface. While the Harvard Business School case study numbers are provided for further reading and these reports do go in depth, they are not free.

I decided to buy this book after reading about it and watching the animated trailer. I honestly learned a lot and thought the fresh take on brands I was already familiar with was intriguing. I also appreciated the advice about how to nurture the creative process. When I finished though, I couldn't help feeling a bit frustrated because the book principally revolved around marketing to consumers and generally forgoes traditional analysis and avoids discussion of branding failures. I think the scope is too narrow and that the book is of only limited value to those already combating hyper-maturity. As it stands, I enjoyed the book and learned something, but wish Different was more substantial.
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