One distinctive thing

“Ads, instructions, industrial design—they all work better when they try to say one thing at a time.”

1 minute read | Orlaith Wood

One distinctive thing
One distinctive thing

Good advice, shared by Seth Godin, on his blog. Especially pertinent when positioning your brand.

If we asked you to list all the things your business or organisation does well, we’re sure there’d be lots you could talk about.

The trouble is, no one’s going to remember a long list of defining features.


“With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all.”

In his TED Talk on the paradox of choice, psychologist Barry Schwartz talks about how having too much choice paralyses us to make decisions.

The tendency is to make noise about all the things that make you wonderful, hoping more people will hear something they like the sound of.

Instead, you paralyse with choice.

One distinctive thing is more likely to strike a chord.

Can you say something totally different from everyone else in your space? What can you claim that no one else can?

Make it easy for people to choose you over others.


Choosing one distinctive thing to say can be tough.

Take brand characteristics. In theory, they should be your battle cry. In practice, there’s often so many that they lose meaning and impact. They end up jettisoned, buried at the back of your website.

The problem gets worse when characteristics are generic and forgettable. You might well be trustworthy, honest and forward–thinking – but which of your competitors would say they’re untrustworthy, dishonest or backward–thinking?

If you make the same sounds as everyone else, you won’t be heard through the din.

If you want people to listen, and take action, you need to say something distinctive that rings true.

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