The urge to copy is not a new one. After all, it does make sense to a large extent. I mean, why reinvent the wheel? Or why take an unnecessary risk when the solution has already been documented? Also, it is the easy way out. But does it make sense to copy when it comes to branding? It is true that the marketplace is overcrowded with brands. And they all seem like clones of each other. But is this because of the sheer number of brands in the market? Or could it have anything to do with industry dynamics? Or is it perhaps a case of blatant copying?
The large number of brands in the market today means that it is natural that there will be similarities. Industry dynamics also necessitate some cloning behavior. For instance, detergent brands tend to have a similar look and hook. But deliberate copying is also rampant amongst companies. In general, copying can take place for two reasons in branding apart from the ones mentioned above. First, it would be a natural tendency to copy the leading brands and gain quick mileage. Second, a brand may simply copy another when it lacks resources.
The idea of copying however defeats the very purpose and that is to create a distinctive identity in the marketplace. In fact, I would say that it is a very destructive notion. Apart from the fact that it rarely leads to success, it also creates an unhealthy dynamic in the market. And personally, I also feel it robs the company of a genuinely exciting opportunity to create something different. A company can only build relationships with its customers if it has its own voice. By simply lifting off another company’s unique selling proposition, a company cannot sustain itself in the long run.
A brand is built on what lies at your company’s core and moulded according to the customers you serve. Trying to force fit another company’s brand values in your own paradigm is always a bad idea. Brand building is a slow and steady process, but one that can be very rewarding if done on your own.