If you’ve ever dreamt of men wearing red flower pots on their heads, you’ve probably seen a Devo video. Harken back to 1980 and their hit “Whip It,” and you can see and hear why they stood out from the crowd. Fast forward to present day and they’re still standing out, sans flower pots.

In USA Today, music reviewers Edna Gundersen, Elysa Gardner, Jerry Shriver and Steve Jones give their new CD “Something for Everybody,” three out of four stars in their column “Listen Up: Sharp, witty Devo still has ‘something’ special.” The reporters note, “The trademark mechanized swing on this we-are-still-Devo comeback sounds sharp, modern and clever.” That trademark sound and look that has differentiated Devo for 30 years doesn’t appeal to everyone. And it’s not supposed to.

Great strategy requires trade-offs, ringing the familiar “you can’t be all things to all people,” bell. Devo doesn’t appeal to everyone and that’s exactly why they’ve been successful. Is your organization trying to be all things to all people? Or does it make trade-offs that offer differentiated value to customers? Would love to hear some examples of great differentiation if you have any to share.

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