While there is consensus on the importance of salience for brand growth, there is considerable disagreement on how important differentiation is. Some think it's not worth pursuing because good ideas are soon copied and create little differentiation among brands, while others think it is very important because brand differentiation does exist and can be sustained by good marketing.


Differentiation is creating and showcasing distinct characteristics that are unique to the brand and distinguish it from competitors, with the intent of creating preference and increased demand. Differentiation can be functional or emotional. It is measured by scoring and ranking all competitive brands in the category for uniqueness and dynamism as well as functional and emotional attitudes.

Salience is prominence in the consumer's mind, sometimes described as 'share of mind' or 'mental availability'. It is the presence and richness of memories that result in a brand coming to mind in relevant choice situations. It cannot simply be measured via traditional awareness metrics, such as top of mind, which only cue the category. Measures also use category needs or brand associations as cues.

Key insights

1. There is debate about the importance of differentiation, but not of distinctiveness