" UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENTIATION."- HEIDI BRAUER, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, HOLLARD INSURANCE
There’s an age-old adage that goes, “there is nothing new under the sun.”. That sentiment’s half-true: humanity’s creativity is actually awe-inspiring.
What does this creativity look like? The answer, for me, is differentiation. I use the metaphor of baking a cake: all cakes start the same and are made the same way, using similar ingredients. But when a cake has layers – your products, how you deal with customers, how you interact with your partners, your culture and purpose, your heart and soul, then the cake can be beautifully differentiated. People will ask you, “Why’s this cake so delicious? Why is it nicer than other cakes?”. That’s differentiation.
Of course, baking such a cake is only possible when your relationship with your creative agency is based on honesty and trust. There can be no tolerance of mediocrity – nor any wastage. You need a strong culture of partnership, one in which there’s a sense that everyone in the relationship wins. The closer you are, the more you engage, the richer the ideas generated.
It’s also proven that business (and humanity) is better when we’re purpose-driven and purpose-led. Returning to the cake metaphor: the base layer for any differentiated cake must be Purpose. As an example, we start with a base layer that recognises our business as a force for good – anything we do must enable more people to create and secure a better future.
Real differentiation happens when you combine these layers of relationship, culture and purpose. A real-world example is the Hollard’s “Big Ads for Small Business” initiative (https://www. hollard.co.za/bigads) where we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by boosting small businesses, partnering with 12 such businesses across South Africa to give 85-percent of our advertising space to them. We truly engaged with these businesses – our partners – getting to know them and make them part of our lives before sharing their stories. Although we only , we achieved More importantly, our campaign created a profound knock-on effect, which resulted in better businesses, contributed to better communities, and ultimately, created better futures.
Inspiration is everywhere – if you open your eyes, your heart will open. If your heart is open, you will find a way to differentiate and create more human connections that make the world a better place.