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Company Branding or Copycat Branding?
LOOKING LIKE ANOTHER ESTABLISHED BRAND WILL NOT EARN YOU GOOD BRAND RECOGNITION
So I was in my local pharmacy recently when I saw this on the magazine rack:
Because of the similar typeface and color of the headlines, I read them across both magazines as “My Big Mistake.” I thought, “How clever. Us magazine created two different covers designed to be placed next to each other.”
Then I realized that it was actually two different magazines and the headlines lining up were more or less coincidental. But that got me thinking about branding…
I can’t tell you how many times a client has said in an agency branding meeting, “Make my website look like Apple’s.” Often, what a client means by that is a clean, simple look.
But occasionally, a client will hand me a website or an ad or a brochure and say, “Make it look exactly like this.” I have a problem with this, and it’s not just about copyrights (although that’s part of it).
A successful brand is not some kind of magic ointment that can be rubbed on your brand to make it healthier. If anything, successful brands are vanishing creams, to extend my terrible analogy. Rub it on your brand, and you run the risk of disappearing in the minds of your target audience. Or worse, your brand is perceived as a cheap imitation of the successful brand.
Creating your own, unique company brand identity is harder than piggybacking on someone else’s, but being yourself will help you differentiate from the competition and pay much larger dividends in the long run.