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copycatting your way to "success"

I love being asked to demonstrate a case study from a truly groundbreaking concept.  If we're doing something that hasn't been done before, an exact parallel cannot honestly be drawn, right?

The good news with most social media and most innovation overall, is that once we get past the shiny technology, it all comes to down to behaviors we all know and love.  Talking, sharing, conversing, reading, watching, experiencing etc. And there are an unbundance of case studies and real world experience with real world behaviors.  To qoute a friend, the real world has always been geo-located.

Now what I REALLY love, is when brands seek to find success not by one-upping each other, or leap-frogging the competition, but my investing in copycat strategies or even worse, copycat tactics.  Competitor A is spending more on video, therefor we will increase our video budgets.  Competitor B is on Facebook building a game, therefor we must be on Facebook.  They did it, they built a modicum of success, and we will copy it 6-18 months later.

Let's face it.  Unless you have a far superior competitive advantage, you cannot "level the playing field" and your certainly cannot pass over your competitors by copycatting.  Launching a product or communication 6 months later with little to no advantages just makes you six months late to last year's party.  Copycatting only works when you outshine the original in a meaningful way.

Inspired by the videos below

Original Video (or the first I had seen)

New Video

Related Video (not sure if this came before the original I posted above)