“I wonder what he’s doing?”
It’s a death sentence to your brand when you ask this question and proceeds to compare yourself to other companies branding and marketing efforts.
We have all compared ourselves to others at one time or another.
It’s not a crime if we are curious.
But what happens when our curiosity is actually a plea for answers?
That’s when it becomes a death sentence to our business.
I have been a victim of copy-pasters.
I have also been a copy-paster in the past. My marketing and branding were so dysfunctional that I searched other famous and successful graphic design companies’ websites and social media feeds. I was looking for answers to my marketing and branding problems.
I asked myself:
- “How are they talking and behaving?”
- “What are they doing that can be my saving grace?”
- “Who is successful that I can borrow, steal and copy from so a little of their success rubs off on my business?”
I would shamelessly take what I wanted and apply it to my business. The initial dopamine rush would bring me satisfaction, but it would wear off days later because my gut knew that what I copied was not me or my business.
That witty pitch line I stole from a website and used as my headline was not my brand. The social media post ideas I stole from another company were not telling the true essence of my brand story. It all felt wrong and fake.
It was time for reflection.
So again, I had to go back to the beginning with a blank slate. I had to address my branding and marketing with the right mindset to sleep well at night. It took me many long walks to figure it out.
During many long walks, I would ponder several questions. The same questions I would ask you if you were my client:
- What am I comparing between my competitors and me?
- What does comparing look like to me?
- Why do I feel the need to compare my business to everyone else?
- What happens after I compare myself to everyone else?
- How do I compare my business to everyone else?
- When do I find myself comparing my business to everyone else?
My answers were pretty clear, and it was time for a change. I had to stop looking at everyone else and start looking at myself.
Knowing what my long-term goals were and who I wanted to target, I put a plan in place to address my branding and marketing. The end results were more than I could have ever imagined.
One of my clients experienced the same issue I had experienced.
A client of mine went into business thinking that everyone would love him and his products the moment he told the world he existed. But there was a serious problem.
His branding was copy-pasted from various sources because, like everyone else, he thought his answers were hidden within what everyone else was doing.
What is hilarious about this situation was that the companies he looked to for answers were copy-pasters! Yes, as I began to research his category and survey the competitors’ landscape, I noticed that they used the same messages as everyone else!
It still is an incestual soup of complacency!
It is repulsing how much copy-pasting is going on in the automotive industry. But I understand why because it is easier. It is easier to copy than do the hard work of being original.
You can blame human evolution for this problem.
We all desire easy, quick wins. We all want success to come to us quickly with little effort required. It’s embedded in our DNA.
This in itself is a problem we need to fight against if we want to create success for our brand. We cannot give into copy-pasting if we desire much more for ourselves and our companies. We must fight through the pains of complacency so we can create success.
That means fighting the compulsion to compare our brands to everyone else. Or the desire to lurk companies that look successful and copy their branding and marketing efforts.
We need to look within ourselves and our desired audience. Ask ourselves the important questions:
- What are we comparing between our competitors and us?
- What does comparing look like to us?
- Why do we feel the need to compare our business to everyone else?
- What happens after we compare ourselves to everyone else?
- How do we compare our business to everyone else?
- When do we find ourselves comparing our business to everyone else?
Uncovering the answers to these questions will spark the desire for change.
It will begin the process of branding and marketing that no longer competes with others. Your branding and marketing become the authentic voice, behaviour and style you knew was there but couldn’t articulate without outside help.
Your answers to these questions begin the process of creating the foundational elements for your business that help you scale for the next 10 years or more.
I have seen this happen countless times with clients I have worked with and those I have not. The formula is easy, but the work is hard. It is detailed, methodical work that requires guidance to make your branding and marketing a reality.
Fighting through the compulsion of copy-pasting embedded in our DNA is the first breakthrough to getting better.
Can you do better? Yes, you can.
Can you build a unique brand that cannot be copied? Damn right, it can happen!
Can you put it all together into a marketing strategy that stops you from comparing yourself to anyone else ever again? Hell yes!
How do you start?