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BOISE, Idaho — It is always good to differentiate your brand.  You want to stand out.  Be remembered — in a positive way.

There are a lot of colleges with football teams.  Some play in BOISE Town Photoincredible temples  of sport adjacent to academic centers of excellence. On game day, hundreds of thousands of fans pour through the gates and fill the stands.  Smaller colleges and universities play their games in more humble settings akin to small high school stadiums with bleachers on one side of the field.

Then there are the Broncos of Boise State.  They play in a stadium that is sponsored by hometown grocer, Albertsons.  By Division I college football stadiums it is average in size, seating 36,387.  But is unique.  It is memorable and it defines the Boise State Bronco football brand.

The Artificial Astro Turf is blue.


From the schools official site:

Bronco Stadium is also home to the only blue Astro Turf in the World. The current turf is the new “Astro Play” which was installed in 2010. It’s also the third blue field at the stadium. Boise State established a first in 1986 by installing the first blue Astro Turf field. The second blue Astro Turf was installed in 1995. Other schools have special color projects for the end zone area, but Boise State is the first to have the entire field produced in a special color.

Though there are football purists who look with disdain on Boise State’s stadium, a string of winning seasons and bowl appearances by the Broncos mitigates the snarkiness from the critics. It is doubtful that a talented high school football star would turn down a full-ride scholarship to play at Boise State based on the color of the football field. Not if his parents have any thing to say about it!

I have written frequently on the subject of brand differentiation and how important it is, as well as some of the rules that apply in constructing this differentiation.  One of the most important guidelines is to remember the norms of your industry, your market and/or your organization. Getting out in front of the standards of each could prove to be a negative differentiation experience. 

Candidates, seeking an edge in the talent acquisition competition, have hurt themselves with flashy resumes, long on color and short on verifiable evidence of success, or video resumes loaded with ego through a hip pitch to get the hiring manager’s attention.

For every situation where that level of flashy differentiation helps, in conservative industries like health care, law or public accounting, there are 999 instances where it has hurt.

In advertising or marketing, where creativity counts, a bleeding edge brand differentiation strategy just might work.   But in the staid world of healthcare, it is about accomplishments and results. 

But the industry norms continue to evolve.