The one-sentence summary

When everybody else zigs, you should zag. Radical differentiation is the number one strategy of high performance brands.


  • In an age of me-too products and instant communications, keeping up with the competition is no longer a winning strategy. You have to out-position, out-manoeuvre, and out-design everyone else.
  • When everybody zigs, zag. Radical differentiation is the number one strategy of high performance brands.
  • There is a 17 step process for working all this out:

1.     Who are you?
2.    What do you do?
3.    What’s your vision?
4.    What wave are you riding?
5.     Who shares the brandscape?
6.    What makes you the ‘only’?
7.     What should you add or subtract?
8.    Who loves you?
9.    Who’s the enemy?
10.  What do they call you?
11.   How do you explain yourself?
12.  How do you spread the word?
13.  How do people engage with you?
14.  What do they experience?
15.  How do you earn their loyalty?
16.  How do you extend your success?
17.  How do you protect your portfolio?


  • This is a short, inspirational book. You can follow the sequence and apply it to a brand immediately. Each step has a number of subsidiary questions.
  • It tells you how to ‘find your zag’, then design it, and renew it.
  • The main set up is that everything is speeding up, the real competition is clutter so don’t offer more, offer different. Look for white space and ‘hit ‘em where they ain’t’.
  • Companies today have no choice but to connect to the three insatiable demands of business: free, perfect and now.
  • The Intrusiveness Death Spiral is a provocative concept whereby traditional advertising achieves short-term gains at the expense of long-term effectiveness:
    1. Industry creates more intrusive ads.
    2. Audience buys in short term.
    3. Audience tunes out in long term.
    4. Advertising becomes less effective.


It is inventively packaged, but we have seen most of these questions before.