The biggest change I have seen with most new client prospects in the past ten years is the scope of work doesn’t always mention something as specific as “find us a USP (Unique Selling Proposition).” But it does include “upfront Branding” as an assignment. I think this is kept so general because of the absolute clutter out there and how hard it is to stand out in your category (unless you created the category, of course). That’s why we take a very hard look outside client categories to find a place where they can stand alone instead of looking in the rear view mirror. There are a number of very good examples of this out there (and on our website). But since I don’t intend to use this blog as a propaganda tool I can give you at least one older example that I was vaguely involved in: Volvo was an somewhat ugly Automobile manufactured by the Swedes. Yet it became known for one thing (Core Value): SAFETY (Yes, that became a “category” for them). Volvo was successfully separated from the rest of the Automotive category and for years they walked the walk. And it was extremely successful. There are modern day versions of this success story and you must admit just knowing that is true is both inspirational and empowering. I believe uncovering this category Rosetta Stone is the most important thing an agency can do for a client today. And believe me that does not mean the creative product is not important. It certainly is but just think what a great creative team can do with a whole new category. It places absolute BREAKTHROUGH CREATIVE within reach. And name me a creative team that wouldn’t want to be a part of that.