Why do marketers have to choose between being different or distinct?

Professor Mark Ritson advises his Mini MBA students to invest in both differentiation and distinctiveness.

The history of marketing has seen some differences in ideology over time but none quite so “destructive” as the current fight between differentiation or distinctiveness. By making marketers feel they must choose between core brand attributes, differentiation, or creative branding to stand out, through distinctiveness, Professor Mark Ritson believes it is all too easy to forget that companies need both. Rather than choose, his mantra is for all to embrace “bothism”.

In a presentation to students for his Mini MBA course, Ritson recounted the journey to today’s unhelpful situation where marketers are expected to choose between differentiation or distinctiveness. Many...

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