Here’s a great quote that, pardon the pun, makes the point quite effectively. It’s by Youngme Moon from an interview at Harvard Business School’s Knowledge and Library:
Differentiation is not a tactic. It’s not a flashy advertising campaign; it’s not a sparkling new feature set. It’s not a laminated frequent-buyer card or a money-back guarantee. Differentiation is a way of thinking. It’s a mindset. It’s a commitment. A commitment to be different, not in a superficial, I’m-going-to-offer-a-couple-of-features-my-competitor-doesn’t-offer kind of way, but in a way that is fundamental and near impossible to replicate.
Related articles: The Risky Business of Marketing Your Point of Difference and Point of Difference – Definition