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Blend in or brand out?

Why do so many people I meet want to look and act like their competitors? They do not necessarily state it in that way, but the way they behave, their desire to imitate and even use the same “techno speak”, which is largely mumbo-jumbo to the rest of the world, leads me to that conclusion. What is it about these highly intelligent people that turn them into lemmings ready to follow the next fool over the cliff?

My question back to them is do you want to blend in or brand out? In other words to you want to be a bland follower of fashion or do you want to stand out from the crowd. Following your competitors is not branding it is blending. Branding is about being different, asserting your own identity and giving customers the reasons to pick you AHEAD of the crowd.

Blend in or brand out?

Think about this while you are busy copying your competitors, somewhere someplace not far away your leading competitor has probably convened a meeting to discuss you. What happens next? Well before you know it the never-ending cycle of events is started each player copying each other: Eventually you morph into each other, even your language becomes the same, a kind of “in the know” industry speak that you and your competitors understand, but which loses your customers within a minute of opening your mouth.

It is no wonder segments and their players look the same if people are too busy watching their competitors instead of their customers. Normally before I meet a new client I do a little research on them and their industry. One good test of what I am writing about here is to look at a or your company on the web and then look at 3 or 4 leading competitors. You will quickly agree with me they all seem the same. The colours, the language, even the web layouts can seem remarkably similar.

Does that make it easier or harder for the customer? They cannot see the wood for the trees is my opinion. Maybe it is the rebel in me, but hey why not take a chance, throw off your corporate cloak & clothes and run out into the sea naked screaming “I am different”.  What have you got to lose only your modesty, but at least you will get noticed.

So my appeal to you is be a brand – be and look like yourself, stop the imitation and watch the fun begin. Before you know it you will be attracting the customers, and your competitors will be running round wondering what happened. Forget your competitors and focus on what you do best and the rest will follow. I promise.

News and Articles 2014