What factors allow a company or product to stand out in an increasingly competitive (and global) marketplace? That’s a question Jack Trout has been answering for 30 years as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies. It is a question that he (with co-author Steve Rivkin) uses in Differentiate or Dieto help readers create solid strategies to get above the crowds of competi- tors and generate the business required to stay there.

Among the points covered in this summary are:

● The Tyranny of Choice. With nearly one million branded products available in the marketplace today, consumers have more choices than they know how to handle. Companies must thus give customers the tools they need in purchasing decisions, to draw them to their products.

● Losing and Reinventing the U.S.P. In order to reinvent the idea of a unique selling proposition (or U.S.P.) and differentiate their products from competitors’, companies must move away from differentiation based solely on product, and engage consumers in ways that truly reach them.

● What Differentiation Is Not. Some differentiation strategies look appealing, but require more effort than is really necessary in order to make the case for a product or company over others.

● The Four Steps to Differentiation. Trout lays out the basics of his differentiation strategy in four essential steps.

● Eight Successful Differentiation Strategies. Differentiating your business actually has very little to do with creativity or imagination and everything to do with pursuing a logical approach to engaging customers. Trout lays out eight points of strategy that have proven to beget success.

● Growth and Sacrifice in Differentiation. Growth can kill differentia- tion by tempting companies to thin out their product lines in search of mass acceptance. Trout details why you should avoid the distractions growth poses.

● Being Different in Different Places. What differentiation strategy will work abroad? This section presents some key considerations.