I recently interviewed Dan Germain, the Head of Creative at Innocent Drinks.
A jovial, bright eyed, bearded chap who clearly loves working at (read: being one of the driving forces behind) Innocent 10 years on. We had a great chat, and he shared a lot about how the team at Innocent have managed to make it all work.
In fact, he's the guy responsbile for the packaging on all of Innocent's products. He now has a team of people working with/for him, but the very different packaging is his baby.
We had an interesting conversation about being different. And Dan's view is that you don't actually need to be different. You just need to be better than the other guy. So in the case of Innocent Drinks, they aspire to offer the best smoothies on the market, alongside a whole bunch of other "bests". Best distribution. Best packaging. Best communication etc etc.
Interesting theory which I could spend some time debating (largely with myself). My view is that whether you aim to be different or better could just boil down to semantics and how you view the world. But the key thing (which applies in equal measure to both "differentiation" and "being better than") is to ensure that you stand out from your competitors thereby getting the attention of the people you want to buy from you.
Watch this interview in our upcoming Business Startup series on yourBusinessChannel, which we'll publish soon.