For quite some time, the word differentiation has been driving me crazy. Similar to the term "brand," the term "differentiation" is a result that has been turned into a mean by marketing consultants seeking to create revenue streams.
- It has become a verb - "I want to differentiate my offering."
- It has become a value judgment - "We are more differentiated than our competitors."
- It has become a battle cry - "Differentiate or Die!"
The reality is twofold: a) we are by definition different, and b) differentiation correlates with success, but it is not the cause of it. People do not buy things because they are different, they buy things because they perceive them as better.
I recommend that we replace with word "differentiate" with "uniqueness." I like unique better - it's clearer. You're unique or you are not - you can't be "a little" or "very" unique.