Rob Gronkowski makes history. And that makes him “SPECIAL.”
Gronk became the first non-USAA member to promote the military-affiliated insurance company USAA.

In a recent 30-second spot by Publicis, “Robert” calls USAA and asks for “up to 30%” off his auto insurance
He wants to take part in the SafePilot program but gets denied when he can’t supply his number.
Number 87 can’t do it, because Gronk isn’t a member.
USAA only serves members of the military and their families. The tagline for the spot, “It’s Still Only for the Military Community.”
Think about it for a second…
This insurance company just spent nearly $5 million in media, plus another million-plus in production . . . to tell people like Gronkowski they can’t get access to USAA.
In Pink Goldfish 2.0, David Rendall and I call this flawsome strategy WITHHOLDING.
It’s a brave play, because most brands are trying to grow. Offer more features, more products, more services, and
serve more people.
But maybe that’s not the only way.

Withholding is about creating limitations, restrictions, boundaries, and constraints. That sounds obviously
Don’t great brands offer freedom? Don’t customers want services to be unlimited? Shouldn’t the best organizations be everywhere all the time? Even if we don’t serve everyone, we certainly want more customers, don’t we?
Not necessarily.
Here’s a little BACKGROUND ON USAA:
What’s with the acronym?
The United States Army Automobile Association was founded in 1922 in San Antonio by a group of 25 U.S. Army officers. They were trying to solve a problem as they were unable to secure auto insurance because of the perception that they, as military officers, were a high-risk group.
Two years later, they dropped the Army out of the name when other commissioned officers from the other branches were allowed to join. They also swapped out States. The acronym for United Services Automobile Association was born.
Focused initially on “reliable” and “economical” auto insurance, USAA has since expanded to offer banking, insurance, and brokerage services. They now proudly serve both past and present members of the Armed Forces, officers and enlisted, and their families. 
How do you normally get insurance? You sit down with an agent and review your options. Not with USAA. They pioneered direct to consumer using their own employees.
For the first 40+ years it was by mail. The next 30+ years was by phone. And online sales were added just over 20+
years ago via its website.
TAKEAWAY – LESS is sometimes MORE. By reducing options or completely eliminating them, brands can stand out, differentiate themselves, and become SPECIAL. 

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at