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Innovation Instead of Imitation

Authentic brands, like authentic people, stand the test of time.

It’s understandable for companies to look toward market leaders and try to emulate their success. However, imitating the tactics and strategies of another brand has never been a successful strategy. Let’s take for example, the best marketing company we know of: Apple. Apple is successful because they understand their brand and ensure that every customer interaction with that brand remains consistent. From online to retail, you always have the same experience with Apple. And trust me, I’m no Apple fan boy.

Apple prides itself on its unofficial motto of “it just works.” And that sentiment can be translated to everything from its website to its genius bar customer service. It just works.

But this has been Apple’s brand from the outset. It is engrained in their culture and in everything they do. So to try to emulate that, especially for an established brand, is an experiment in folly. It would be the same for a 30-year-old person to try to change their personality. At a certain point, your personality, and your culture, is set. The best thing you can do is not change your personality, or brand, to fit what you perceive as popular, but rather solidify who you are and cater like-minded people.

One of the biggest fallacies of life is that each person is unique. To some extent that is true. But in the aggregate, we are all part of very distinct groups. And it is these groups we, as marketers, try to tap into. Social media has only magnified this point by linking us with others that share similar interests and allowing us to not only indulge, but broadcast, these interests. As a great post on modern marketing confirms, we as marketers are no longer trying to engage consumers, built rather we are trying to build audiences. Corralling supporters and brand evangelists and providing them with the fodder that makes their brand loyalty worthwhile. And while you may think this statement sounds very Machiavellian, you could be further from my point.

Authentic brands, like authentic people, stand the test of time. After all, would you rather spend time with someone pretending to be a fun person, or with someone who is actually fun.

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