I have been reading a very interesting post by the lovely Jen at A Piece of Cloth. Her latest post about copying in craft raises some pertinent questions and I can completely understand her frustrations regarding design originality, blatent copying and the disregard for individuality. I don't often get to the crafty markets, but I am online a lot and unfortunately I concur with what Jen has seen...sad, but true. My background is also in design and advertising - without original thought in advertising, there would be no winning brands.
In my case, blatent copying of Retro Age website design, layout and our strategic ideas is occuring at an incredible rate. If I create a new category on the website, one of our competitors does the same thing. If I set my photos a certain way, that is done on their website, too. If I create a new product - like packs of little snippets - they do the same thing, too. We keep on thinking nothing else will shock us, but then another thing is copied and we just sit here shaking our heads. Lucky we know we're better.
Being original and coming up with unique concepts takes time and effort. Yes, there is nothing truly original, per se, but there is originality combined with a unique brand, brand promise and unique selling proposition. Do Pepsi and Coke look the same? The products do - but does their logo or packaging or design? No. Because it is important to remain individual and unique. What people who copy get confused with is "...if I do what they do, I'll be as good as them." That is, in fact, incorrect - you bottom out the market by looking similar and target markets get confused as to what your brand personality is. You end up with no brand or a cheaper imitation of what you are copying.
I suppose people who strive to better themselves, their business and their customer - and their product - tire of people who stalk them just to take their ideas. I know there is healthy competition and keeping an eye on competition is granted, but relentless copying time and time and time again is so tiresome and annoying.
There is a fight or flight thought process - a gut reaction to situations. Unfortunately for my copier I am not weak, nor a push over. When I am kicked I jump higher than last time. And because of my advertising and marketing background, my natural thought process is to look for newer, fresher and higher ground. My natural goal is to win the market. And I have lots of plans - and lots of time to do fulfil them.
For those of you who have faced blatent copying of product, design and strategy, may I support you in your fight against those people who copy rather than think and create. Even though I don't have a creative 'craft' product, I still have a product and a business, and it still gets to me, too! Is it just business? No - copying is not just fighting for business. I relate copying to mob wars - dirty fighting that is not what a gentleman - or a lady - does. And I am a lady...cough...I hope Justin doesn't read this...cough...