Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Think DIFFERENT: What makes customers willingly pay for this brand’s offerings despite a relatively high price? [Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy]

June 7, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

Return Driven Strategy (RDS). 

Created by Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo, and explained in detail in their book, “Driven,” this pyramid-shaped framework has 11 tenets and 3 foundations that help businesses achieve wealth and value creation. 

I personally like RDS because it’s proven effective and helpful in achieving our individual and organizational goals at MBO Partners. This framework also helps align our teams in doing various activities that fulfill our target market’s needs. 

Are you interested to know more about how RDS positively contributes to a brand’s success and effectiveness in standing out from the competition and thriving in a particular industry? 

Read this company’s case study below to find out. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy 

“Think different.” 

Many people, especially tech-savvy consumers, are familiar with this slogan. Created in 1997 by Craig Tanimoto, a former TBWA Art Director, this tagline reflects the core principles of this leading tech giant: 


According to Tanimoto, “Think different” is the company’s response to IBM’s “Think” slogan. Additionally, he says it’s cool and interesting to use Apple’s tagline to recognize some of the world’s “most different-thinking people.” 

Apple Has Always Been Different 

Photo from WallpaperAccess

Throughout its existence, Apple’s products have always been renowned for being DIFFERENT. With a mission statement to “bring the best user experience to customers through innovative hardware, software, and services,” the company continues to create innovations that revolutionize the tech industry. 

How has Apple shown ways of being different throughout the years? 

  1. Through its unique and iconic marketing campaigns. 

As an approach to being different, some of Apple’s powerful marketing campaigns won awards for showing uniqueness in the past 10 to 20 years. 

Here are some of these campaigns: 

This TV commercial was an allusion to English writer George Orwell’s 1949 novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” which described a dystopian future ruled by a televised Big Brother. 

In the ad, Apple used an unnamed heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh as a means of saving humans from conformity. This garnered TV viewers’ attention worldwide and became part of The Clio Awards’ Hall of Fame in 1995. The Advertising Age also added the “1984” ad to its list of 50 greatest commercials. 

This ad showed various customers letting loose to their favorite songs on their iPods. The commercial was soundtracked by musical groups U2 and Black Eyed Peas

“Silhouette” became one of Apple’s most-remembered marketing campaigns because it helped the company capture the attention of consumers around the world. 

This commercial featured actor Justin Long playing the personified version of the Mac, and humorist John Hodgman as the personified version of the PC. 

Apple created this fresh and unique marketing campaign to help people get to know the Mac much better. 

This ad showed off the video-capturing and editing features of the iPhone 7 Plus and was the first in a series of more heartfelt and emotional campaigns from Apple. 

After airing in September 2016, “Romeo and Juliet” set the standard for the company’s sentimental technology ads in the years that followed. 

In this ad, Apple took a different approach in its partnership with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to promote the HomePod. 

Here, The Rock was seen depending on Siri to power through the day, and it added some much-needed humor to what would otherwise be a straightforward campaign. This was one of Apple’s most-entertaining campaigns ever! 

Thanks to these kinds of ads and the use of various marketing platforms, Apple expanded its reach and got the attention of numerous consumers around the globe. 

  1. Through its game-changing iPods and iPhones. 

According to an article from Medium, introducing the iPod and iPhone was one of Steve Jobs’ best moves. Why? 

These products brought—and still bring—the highest profit to Apple! Additionally, while there are other smartphones and mp3 players created by other tech companies, the iPod and iPhone manage to stand out with their easy-to-use features. 

For instance: The real advantage of the iPod is its integration with iTunes. So, unlike other mp3 players that require users to manually drag music files into digital folders in their devices, iTunes allows users to sync their music automatically to an iPod. All that’s left for them to do is listen to their favorite songs. 

Meanwhile, what makes the iPhone different from other smartphones is that the iOS is user-friendly and simple to use. 

Think about this: Since a wide range of tech companies manufacture Android phones, these devices have a lot of inconsistencies because each brand has to look and feel different from one another. 

On the other hand, since Apple is the only iPhone manufacturer, they maintain uniformity in all its products, and this leads to user-friendliness. 

  1. Through its satisfying customer services. 

Apple is known for delivering high-quality products and services. Aside from that, the company ensures customers get the best experience, be it the way they shop in stores or the way it feels to unbox a new Apple device. 

Simply said, the brand knows how to delight its customers beyond simply meeting their expectations. In fact, loyal customers eagerly await for the company’s new products and are willing to pay premium prices for them! 

This shows that Apple effectively differentiates itself from other brands and is able to fulfill customers’ needs in a way no other brand can. 

According to Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo in the book, “Driven,” part of Return Driven Strategy’s Tenet Two (Fulfill Otherwise Unmet Customer Needs) is being different—a natural state of successful, high-performing companies. 

However, being different should NEVER be a company’s goal in and of itself. As Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo wrote in their book, it is better for a company to focus on customer needs and fulfill those needs in unique ways than be entirely different and be bankrupt. 

Take a look at how Apple demonstrates this tenet in its products and services… 

By building an image of a premium brand that never compromises on quality and technology, the company retains its existing customers despite keeping a relatively higher price than other brands. 

This characteristic enables Apple to have high earning power levels and gain a competitive—and different—edge over its competitors. 

We hope you enjoyed reading today’s topic! 

Remember: Being different also occurs spontaneously. It is a by-product of having done everything else right in your business and marketing strategies. 

With a correct approach to fulfilling otherwise unmet customer needs, you’ll compel customers to pay based on the value of your offering. This means regardless of how cheap or expensive your product or service is, they willingly pay for it because it makes their lives better. 

… and the result? 

Your brand will not only gain a competitive advantage over other businesses but also attract more loyal customers that will help expand your firm’s reach. 

It’s time to start thinking differently about your business’ strategies and offerings! 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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