So you have a territory of differentiation. But more often than not, you won’t be alone. In fact, chances are that your segment is heavily commoditized – unless you are a luxury brand, of course. Why should this be of interest?
db9headlampLet me try and explain this through an example: Aston Martin. Beyond the notion of luxury, there is a reason for James Bond taking a liking to ‘the finer things in life’. For Aston Martin, they compete in the high-end luxury segment for cars. They do not build the fastest, or the most powerful cars – they leave this to their more bling and generally more red competitors. But they do claim to build the most beautiful cars in the world. It is a bold claim, and yes it is subjective – always in the eye of the beholder. But it does carve out a clear, distinctive territory of differentiation, a place and a position in the hearts and minds of consumers that is associated with sophistication and taste.
Beauty truly is in simplicity, but it’s hard to achieve. Only nature has the ability to create beauty with seamless effort.
We love to see, touch, taste and smell beautiful objects. They inspire us, make us feel good and pass on positive emotions. But when we humans create things, it does not come naturally to us to make them beautiful. Machines, things, processes, and invoices – you name it: they are generally designed to be functional. Rational. It requires a lot more insight, thought and hard work to make things simple, functional – and beautiful. At Aston Martin, craftsmen spend more time than any other car manufacturer painting their cars: a full fifty hours of a paint job – plus polishing. The integration of headlamps in one single piece, without any shut lines on the bonnet is not something you would notice consciously either, but in aggregate, these details make up form, shape and near perfect proportion.
What are you making beautiful?
The effort that goes into making things beautiful is undervalued, and often not consciously recognized at first sight. The trick of course is scale. Once you have a distinctive proposition that resonates with your audience on a clearly articulated territory then go and make what you already do – but more beautiful. What does it take? Act on it with integrity. Anything you do, everywhere with anyone. The materials you choose, your staff, suppliers, partners – act with full integrity. It is at the basis of building a successful and lasting brand. And if you can make it beautiful on top of that, it will pay off in multiples financially, in terms of customer loyalty and pride of the people working for you.
TomorrowToday’s keynote presentation, in partnership with Markus Kramer, ‘What we can learn from luxury’ might be of interest to you and your team if this article has resonated with you.  Connect with our team if you’d like more information on this particular framework.

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