Imitation vs differentiation

04Aug09

red-pencil

Starting a business isn’t easy. That’s a given. But when people have tread the path before you, it’s tempting to imitate. After all, if they’re successful, why not do it just like them and be successful too? Thing is, you’re not like the others. People don’t do business with you because you work like someone else. They choose you because of who you are.

A follower, or an initiator?

Think about what makes you stand out. Your higher quality product. Your excellent customer service. Your attention to detail. Use that to show your potential clients that you’re the right choice for them. Not how similar you are to someone else.

If you find that others are imitating you, take solace in these three valid reasons to never fear being copied. Here’s a quick excerpt from Dwight’s timely words.

Chinese automakers BYD (Build Your Dreams, seriously) and Geely have been blatantly ripping-off designs from Mercedes-Benz and Rolls Royce, two of the most prestigious auto brands in the world.

It’s shameful.

It’s undignified.

But does it even matter?

Do you think any of the world’s millionaires will one day wake up and say, “Oh, I’d love to buy a Mercedes-Benz CLK… but the BYD S8 is a cheaper alternative, so let me buy that instead.”

byd-s8

BYD S8

mercedes-benz-clk

Mercedes-Benz CLK

It’s the brand that people associate with. You know… the story. And if that wasn’t true, we’d all be proud Skoda owners.

Imitation around the blogging circuit

An example closer to home relates to design blogs and the “top whatever” lists that increasingly crop up. Everything’s good in moderation, but say for example you see a post referencing the “top 20 designers on Twitter”, you can bet your life that if you add your own 20 picks and republish as a top 40, it won’t be long before someone “betters” it with a top 100, 200, or 500. Where do you draw the line?

It’s not a competition to see who can copy and paste.

It’s all about you.

As a blog author, differentiate yourself with compelling, personal, unique content so you won’t lose your audience to the next 100+1 list.

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