Standing Out in 2010: Rise of the Differentiation Diva

January 20, 2010Sparxoo


By Tara Lane, Staff Writer

Statistics show that the average American is exposed to between 250 and 850 advertising messages each day. Many of these messages don’t make a difference, but the ones we pay attention to stand out for a reason – the product is unique, special, and most of all, has value. Over the past few years, consumers have changed their buying habits, seeking products with a higher standard of quality over those that, while inexpensive, won’t last long.

When times are tough, we recognize how far our money will go, and we’re willing to pay a little extra for something that hold its value. Though it may seem that luxury has taken a backseat in this economy, giving something that extra touch is what will make it succeed even more.

On a personal level, people are taking even more extreme measures to stand out, too. The Heene family staged the elaborate “Balloon Boy” hoax in order to garner media attention they hoped would lead to their own television show. The White House party crashers, Tareq & Michaele Salahi, made extreme attempts at getting their 15 minutes of fame. With acts like these drawing reporters in and making headlines, more and more people get ideas on how to make themselves stand out — but it’s not always in a good way.


Lady Gaga — Love her or hate her, there’s no arguing that Lady Gaga has made an impression in the music industry, as well as in the world of fashion with her eccentric style and Euro flare. Though her efforts are extreme, they definitely get her noticed and get people talking. Unlike the Heene’s or the Salahi’s, Lady Gaga’s extreme measures of standing out are constructive — she’s sold millions of records, gained even more fans, and is admirably securing her place in a notoriously harsh industry.

Luxury Hotels – To stand out and gain a foothold in metropolitan areas, Hyatt is prepared to open a 253-room luxury hotel in downtown Manhattan called the Andaz. The challenge? The luxury hotel will have to create the best possible user experience. As consumers get more and more used to better quality services, they begin to demand positive experiences, refusing to settle for less, and there are always people ready to make those experiences happen. As a society, we don’t want something average that everyone else will have, too; to get something special, we’re willing to spend for the extraordinary. In return, businesses take the time to study their customers to go the extra mile, to make it worth spending for.


  • Tiffany & Co. has continually reported higher-than expected profits throughout 2009; sales exceeded $598 million in the third quarter alone
  • Precious metals are en vogue as evidenced by the US Mint sale of 247,500 ounces of the yellow metal during December despite a suspension (due to increased sales)
  • The Gilt Group raised $43 million to bring luxury designs and goods to more people

Take Aways

Advertisers and consumers are looking for the same thing – to get rid of the “junk” and streamline and synthesize consumer information. In the search to stand out, retailers will are recognizing the value in spending the extra time focusing on customer needs and wants as opposed to focusing only on their bottom line. By becoming more in tune with customers, businesses can actually see higher profits and have longevity in an increasingly competitive market.

Increased entrepreneurship has allowed individuals to become experts and specialists in their fields, forging pathways, finding trends, and becoming the person that everyone in the industry can recognize on name alone. They build their brand online, through social networks, and become actively involved in their field, while helping individuals and businesses find their place and reinvent themselves as well.


  • Luxury brand web sites will create more gated online communities for affluent customers. There will be an affinity for exclusivity rather than just wealth.
  • Similar to how streaming television platforms work, TV ads will be short, simple, and will only have one or two per commercial break. Product placement will take over for traditional advertising, satisfying viewers and advertisers at the same time.

Who’s On Trend

  • Apple
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Gilt Group

Read all of the 2010 trends here. (PDF)

Read the 2010 trend report (PDF)