Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale
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What if working like crazy to beat the competition did exactly the opposite, making you mediocre and more like the competition?

In today’s world of overabundant consumer choices and superfluous apps, upgrades, add-ons, and features, brands have become nearly identical, as their efforts to outdo one another have pushed them into a dizzying herd of indistinct options.

Youngme Moon identifies the outliers, the mavericks, the iconoclasts—the players who have thoughtfully rejected orthodoxy in favor of an approach that is more adventurous. Some are even “hostile,” almost daring you to buy what they are selling. 

Using her original research on companies such as IKEA and Google, Moon will inspire you to be counterintuitive and  meaningfully different—to rethink your business strategy, to stop conforming and start deviating, to stop emulating and start innovating. Because to stand out you must become the exception, not the rule.

Review

“...to give a bullet-point summation of takeaways is to deny the real value of this lovely book.”-- Harvard Business Review

About the Author

Youngme Moon is the Donald K. David Professor at Harvard Business School. One of HBS’s most popular teachers, Dr. Moon has received the Student Association Faculty Award for teaching excellence on multiple occasions. Dr. Moon’s research focuses on innovative consumer-marketing strategies and her work has been published widely, including in Harvard Business Review.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
221 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Manylander
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not very different
Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2016
Should have been a ten page paper. The messages are not breakthrough or new. I also did not appreciate the author''s concentrated efforts of using fancy word (where better fitting alternates were widely available) and the more than occasional HBS name dropping. We KNOW you... See more
Should have been a ten page paper. The messages are not breakthrough or new. I also did not appreciate the author''s concentrated efforts of using fancy word (where better fitting alternates were widely available) and the more than occasional HBS name dropping. We KNOW you teach at HBS, we don''t need to be reminded needlessly.

The detail on referred cases (at the end of the book) adds one star to otherwise one-star book.

In summary: A few good approaches, but not enough material to make those into a book
14 people found this helpful
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Alan
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Aweful. Just another “business” book
Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2021
I wanted this book to be good, and perhaps that’s why I’m so upset about it. It’s clear this is just another “business” book written by an academic who has no personal experience of actually making and selling products. For example, she criticizes... See more
I wanted this book to be good, and perhaps that’s why I’m so upset about it.

It’s clear this is just another “business” book written by an academic who has no personal experience of actually making and selling products.

For example, she criticizes companies for coming up with variations of the same product (10 variations of Prego sauce) And criticizes competitors for copying each other.

Well, it’s not about a lack of imagination or a failure to differentiate - as the author claims. No this happens because it works. As a product category matures, companies figure out what works and what doesn’t. So they naturally converge on similar products.

There’s a reason why TVs today all look the same. Because after 75 years, we’ve figured out what does it doesn’t work when it comes to TV design. And of course you have other other phenomenon such as economies of scale and quality convergence.

Save yourself some time and avoid this book. This author just rambles on and on, jumping from one anecdote to another trying desperately hard to make some sort of thesis - which is not back by any data or any actual experience that she has done.

Reading this book will make you more stupid.
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Alex W White
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Businesses talk about being different but most are stuck on a competitive treadmill
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2017
“There is a homogenous nature in competition and the need to set your brand apart. This book describes differentiation through reverse positioned branding, breaking away branding, or hostile branding to separate and distinguish a business entity from its competition.... See more
“There is a homogenous nature in competition and the need to set your brand apart. This book describes differentiation through reverse positioned branding, breaking away branding, or hostile branding to separate and distinguish a business entity from its competition. Providing live communications to your customers not only disrupts the brand category but also provides value.” – Graduate student comment. Different was used as a required text in the graduate Design Management program at the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design at the University of Bridgeport.
3 people found this helpful
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Eric honestly opinionated K.
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Has some good elements, mostly in beginning. Overall shallow in content.
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2014
Youngmee Moon''s "Different" was an easy and educational read. PROS: Not too robotic (flows as in conversation) yet structured enough, a lot of examples to bring her points to life CONS: In all honesty, there isn''t that much content in the book other... See more
Youngmee Moon''s "Different" was an easy and educational read.

PROS: Not too robotic (flows as in conversation) yet structured enough, a lot of examples to bring her points to life
CONS: In all honesty, there isn''t that much content in the book other than what the cover says - "Escaping the competitive herd".

She talks about "heterogeneous homogeneity" where proliferation of category "differentiation" has resulted in sameness and gives Laundry detergent as an example. (Tide regular, Tide with bleach, Tide this, Tide that… product expansion by addition/multiplication) That''s really about it. Other chapters sort of beat this dead horse over and over in slightly different ways, but doesn''t add additional insight. To be honest, the discipline of marketing is case-by-case business and cannot be taught in a classroom or a book in my opinion… so I do give kudos to Prof. Moon for trying to make this book as entertaining and not so generic as much as possible.

People new to marketing/branding might find this still a great read, but ppl with marketing experience/business education may find this shallow.
12 people found this helpful
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RedLev
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Conversation about Product Positioning
Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2016
True to its thesis, this is somewhat of a hostile, breakaway take on the typical marketing book. The narrative approach is not for everyone, but for this reader, it worked: no overly-simplified bulleted lists and platitudes and shallow solutions that border on self-help... See more
True to its thesis, this is somewhat of a hostile, breakaway take on the typical marketing book. The narrative approach is not for everyone, but for this reader, it worked: no overly-simplified bulleted lists and platitudes and shallow solutions that border on self-help like so many business best sellers, but more of a conversation that meanders, dips unabashedly into personal anecdotes, and in this view accumulates more substance as a result of that approach. Topic is breakaway, reductive, and hostile brands, and what "differentiation" really means in product marketing, why most consumer product categories show no meaningful differentiation, and how most products tend to be slaves to adding features and multiplying product offerings which historically leads only to mediocrity and blurry consumer overload. One quibble: The examples are good but they''re also (mostly, one exception being a Japanese reference) obvious business school case study fare, and they feel somewhat dated; would love an update, and would enjoy hearing more from this author''s compelling, modestly insightful voice.
3 people found this helpful
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John Gibbs
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ways of creating effective differentiation
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2011
As a culture, we have moved well past the point where we are impressed by the traditional markers of influence - the profusion of look-alike choices, the embarrassing display of whistles and bells - according to Youngme Moon in this book. More-of-the-same never adds up to... See more
As a culture, we have moved well past the point where we are impressed by the traditional markers of influence - the profusion of look-alike choices, the embarrassing display of whistles and bells - according to Youngme Moon in this book. More-of-the-same never adds up to the best. Instead, the marketer needs to be able to ascertain not just the things that we want but also the things that we do not.

Some of the key ideas contained in the book:

* Market segmentation and product augmentation, while attempting to create differentiation, have actually led to meaningless distinctions.
* Competitive analysis and comparative metrics have generated conformity and resulted in competitive herding, with all competitors blurring together in the mind of the customer.
* One way of creating effective differentiation is to subtract features from the offering, creating difference by stripping away the superfluous.
* Another way of creating effective differentiation is to create polarization, so that some people hate your offering while others love it.
* Another way of creating effective differentiation is to transform an offering into a different category in the perception of customers.

The book is written in a discursive manner, rather than being constructed according to a clearly defined plan. This works quite well because of the author''s engaging writing style. I found most of the author''s arguments to be quite persuasive. The book is not, and does not purport to be, a definitive manual on the subject of differentiation, but it does in my view provide a good introduction to many aspects of differentiation which are not yet widely understood.
6 people found this helpful
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George Rodriguez - My Simple Press
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
If You Want to be the Same, Don''t Read this Book
Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2012
You should read this book. You should read this book if your job involves selling something to someone; which includes most of us. You should read this book to help you step back from the daily grind and really think about what makes brands different and more... See more
You should read this book.

You should read this book if your job involves selling something to someone; which includes most of us. You should read this book to help you step back from the daily grind and really think about what makes brands different and more importantly what makes them unique.

Moon''s slender volume isn''t chock full of specific advice detailing steps 1 through 100 on how to beat the competition, but rather is an elegant examination of how today''s consumer culture gives us more of what we think we want, but less of what we need.

Too many marketing books (past and present) rely on a critical analysis of the competition and offer more examples and instructions that only gives us more of what Moon describes as "heterogeneous homogeneity". She is right to argue that there are so many choices today, but so many are the same. If you want to be Google, IKEA and In-N-Out different, read this book and for once try something new. It might become the norm eventually and seem absolutely crazy at first, but it just might make you and your company different enough to matter.
2 people found this helpful
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J. Larson
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Read it for the Examples
Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2011
1) Don''t we all want to be different? To be viewed as someone who has just a little bit of that special quality that makes people interested in what we think, or what we are doing? 2) Read the book for the examples. They resonate because most everyone has had... See more
1) Don''t we all want to be different? To be viewed as someone who has just a little bit of that special quality that makes people interested in what we think, or what we are doing?

2) Read the book for the examples. They resonate because most everyone has had some sort of interaction with them. I also appreciate that at the end we have a source to learn more about most of them. That''s a nice bonus.

3) Because we have had an interaction with the example, we love the author, hate the author, think the book is to simple, or that the examples are too easy. That means the author was smart enough to to start us with something we know and then work to expand our knowledge.

4) They key with this book is not to rush out and try and categorize all brands, but to cause us to think more about our "brand". Once we understand ourselves we can then use that understanding to "Escape the Competitive Herd".

5) I didn''t go to Harvard, but I do want to expand my world through learning, and thought. This author helped me do that.

6) Read the book if you want to think about where you are, and what you need to understand and change to get where you want to go.
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Top reviews from other countries

Douglas F.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting, Thought Provoking, Great
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 20, 2020
This was a really interesting and thought provoking book about differentiating your product offering from your competitors to act as an advantage. The book is written in a style that is very easy to read with several personal examples from the authors own experience. I...See more
This was a really interesting and thought provoking book about differentiating your product offering from your competitors to act as an advantage. The book is written in a style that is very easy to read with several personal examples from the authors own experience. I enjoyed the book and read through it quite quickly as it was difficult to put down.
2 people found this helpful
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JP
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Subject account of the world
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 16, 2020
This is less about marketing and more of a subjective account of the author’s opinion on marketing, products, advertising & life. There is a bit in the preface about other business books being simple to digest and how they are over simplified! They aren’t over simplified,...See more
This is less about marketing and more of a subjective account of the author’s opinion on marketing, products, advertising & life. There is a bit in the preface about other business books being simple to digest and how they are over simplified! They aren’t over simplified, they are written that way to help the reader take things away and reference relevant parts easily again. If I wanted this kind of writing I would have read a novel. Read Marty Neumeier’s book ZAG, & The Brand Gap - you will get a lot more from it in way less time. Sorry author but this is probably a great ‘academic‘ read but not great for the real world I’m afraid.
One person found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting concept, a bit repetitive
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 24, 2016
The book has an interesting, central theme. It could be half as long though, as it does give many examples of the same thing and repeat itself in slightly different ways.
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btony2
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Been done before but not as well
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 15, 2011
The "Be different" to compete thesis has been covered before, most notably in the earlier "Blue Ocean Strategy" by W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne but here it is 10x more readable. Moon''s examples are explained more concisely in a narrative style that makes them more...See more
The "Be different" to compete thesis has been covered before, most notably in the earlier "Blue Ocean Strategy" by W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne but here it is 10x more readable. Moon''s examples are explained more concisely in a narrative style that makes them more memorable and therefore useful.
One person found this helpful
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Richard H. Merrick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Powerful insights
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2015
This is a disarmingly modest book given the insights it contain. Refreshingly free of BS, it addresses the real issues to be dressed in engaging our audience. My best read of 2015 to date.
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Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale

Different: Escaping the Competitive wholesale online Herd sale