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I recently paid a visit to my local liquor store to pick up a bottle of red wine for steak night. I know next to nothing about wine, and am guilty of making selections based on the quality of the label design rather than any other variable like varietal or region. Point being, I need all the help I can get.

So imagine my confusion when looking down the aisle of wines, all I can see is an unbroken line of “Special” and “Our Favorite” tags hanging from the shelves. Really? Every single wine you carry is your favorite? And every wine in the store is special somehow?


One of the first principles of good branding is the notion that if you think everything you do is special, then there’s a pretty good chance nothing you do is. Labeling every item in the liquor store “special” renders none of them special.

Consider your marketing messaging. Does anything stand out (and don’t tell me it’s your people) or is your company, product or service just one in a long line of sameness? If you can’t immediately tell me how you differentiate yourself, can you really expect a potential customer to? Good design can help – consider the way I usually pick a wine. But to be truly “special,” you need to define a unique selling proposition and craft marketing materials that leverage it. And yes, in case you were wondering, doing that for our clients is what makes us special.