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Standout brands are distinct, memorable and own their turf. Think about Target (hip, cool and great design), Alfec (the duck icon), and Lady GaGa (outrageous style, no borders behavior).

They didn’t copy the pack, they lead it with a set of unique attributes. If you want to break through a clutter of the same old boring stuff that 95% of your competition are doing, then be original, odd and offbeat. And avoid these 5 costly mistakes.

1) Don’t use other people’s quotes in your marketing content and social media. Create your own original quotes, ideas, opinions and and insight.

2) Don’t use the same colors and graphic styles that are everywhere in your industry. Break the rules. And then rule your category.

3) Don’t use the same tired copy points and words that your competition uses. Tell memorable stories and create your own words that are unique and belong to you.

4) Don’t use, over used stock images and photos that everyone and their uncle has used since 1982. Find compelling pics, try adding treatments to them with cropping, borders, colors and filters. Or take your own.

5) Don’t expect everyone to love your distinction. Change or an unusual approached often get resisted early in the game. How may people loved Google when it first launched?

When you find your solid path of brand distinction and stick to it, your marketing dollars will have more power to help build a strong and sustainable brand.

Also check out: The 3 A’s of an awesome brand name.