New Klout – An Innovation Strategy?

“You have eyes: Plagiarize!” – Product Development at Salomon Brothers (Liars Poker)

“Good artists copy, but great artists steal.” – Steve Jobs

Borrowing ideas from your competitors has a long and esteemed history in innovation, as noted in the quotes above. Therefore it should not necessarily negative to note that Klout’s ballyhooed new version and business model seems to be lifted entirely from a competitor, Kred.

When I summarized popular, retail influence-measuring services to my SMM class last semester I noted that Kred had created some buzz and excitement about its pledge of transparency and noted several differences from Klout including:

  1. Kred enhances transparency by clearly displaying events, called activities, that lead to Kred points,
  2. Kred goes back further to compute your score, up to 1000 days, so a temporary event such as going on holiday or celebrating a birthday on Facebook should not have as much impact,
  3. Participants can award each other +Kreds, which will contribute to a score, and
  4. Kred has an option to include evidence of real world influence “offline Kred” in your total score.

Of course differences remain, but substitute “moments” for activities, “90 days” for 1000, “+K” for +Kred, and “automatically” for has an “option” in these four former differences and you have the key innovations Klout just announced!

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Kred seemed to be getting some traction, so Klout said “I can be like them.” Is this a winning innovation strategy??

In fairness, Facebook has been using this strategy successfully to thwart competition from Google+. However I am reminded of another example…

Coca-Cola reformulated its product, dropping the vanilla and adding sugar, to make it taste more like Pepsi in reaction to the Pepsi taste test promotions. The “New Coke” was a near disaster until management pivoted and went back to the historical formula.

Is Klout just tactically fending off Kred or is it endangering its service by introducing “New Klout” – what do you think?

[I will discuss my thoughts and your ideas in my next post…]

Comments: 1

  • I think the bigger problem you are unearthing here is that none of these companies have any intellectual property protection. How can anybody really get ahead in an sustainable way when every innovation can be copied.

    And BTW, I actually know the ex-Coke CMO who introduced New Coke. Quite an interesting story!!!

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