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November 24, 2023

Why new brands should NOT copy established brands

In a commercial world where established brands seem to hold the key to success, the temptation to imitate them can be great for new brands. But the real question is: does this bring long-term success? We explore why it is vital for new brands to carve their own path and how they can build a unique and authentic identity.

The Risks of Imitating Established Brands

Loss of Unique Identity

New brands that choose to copy established brands can lose their own identity. This lack of authenticity can be easily detected by consumers, leading to a lack of trust and loyalty. When a new brand tries to imitate an industry giant, it loses its essence. For example, many tech startups have tried to copy Apple's style and approach, but few have managed to create the same emotional resonance or customer loyalty. Unique identity is what makes a brand memorable and different in the marketplace.

Limited Differentiation

Without differentiation, a new brand is lost in the sea of competitors. Take the example of clothing brands that tried to copy the success of Gucci or Louis Vuitton; most went unnoticed because they offered nothing new or different.

Negative Perception

A brand that imitates is often perceived as lacking innovation and creativity. For example, when Huawei was accused of imitating iPhone design and features, it negatively affected the brand's perception globally. And I think we've all scoffed at brands like Adibas, or often recognized the visual identity elements of KFC and McDonald's in neighborhood fast food joints. Have they earned our trust? Not really.

Creating a Unique and Authentic Brand Identity

Understanding the Target Audience

Understanding the needs and desires of your target audience is the first step in building a unique brand. This includes demographic, behavioural and emotional research. A successful example of this is Netflix, which has understood the needs of its audience for personalised and accessible content, differentiating itself from traditional TV.

Development of a Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

A clear Unique Value Proposition (UVP) differentiates a new brand from competitors. It should highlight what makes the brand special and valuable to customers. Tesla is a shining example of a UVP, focusing on innovation in electric technology and a strong commitment to sustainability, thus differentiating itself from other traditional car manufacturers.

Creating a Distinctive Visual Identity

Your logo design, colour scheme and other visual elements should reflect your brand identity, visually conveying your brand's values and personality. Adopt a unique, recognizable logo and design style that reflects the quality and unique experience you offer to your customers.

Using Original Narratives

The brand story and how it is communicated to the audience can be powerful tools to build an emotional connection with customers.

Consistency Across All Contact Points

Consistency in message, design and customer experience helps build a strong and recognizable brand identity. An example of this is Amazon, which offers a consistent, customer-focused experience from browsing the site to after-sales service.

Benefits of Building a Unique Brand

Clear Market Differentiation

A unique brand allows you to stand out in a sea of competitors, giving you the opportunity to attract the attention of your target audience. This differentiation is not just about the visual appearance, but also about the unique value proposition you offer, as we said earlier. Through differentiation, your brand becomes more memorable, which helps increase recognition and visibility in the marketplace. For example, a brand that chooses to focus on sustainability and social responsibility will attract a segment of the public that values these principles, clearly distinguishing itself from the rest of its competitors.

Building Trust and Loyalty

A brand that is authentic and consistent in communicating its values and promises earns the trust and loyalty of its customers. Key moments of customer interaction, such as the shopping experience, customer service and even product packaging, help build this trust. When customers feel connected and confident in a brand, they are more likely to become long-term advocates and recommend the brand to others. This creates a virtuous circle of organic business growth, supported by positive recommendations and reviews.

Sustainability and Long-Term Growth

A unique and well-defined brand has greater potential for growth and sustainability. A well thought-out and coherently implemented brand identity not only attracts customers, but also facilitates expansion into new markets or diversification of the offer. Brands with a strong identity can innovate more easily, launching new products or services that are immediately associated with the values and quality they represent. A strong and unique brand can also navigate more easily through periods of economic uncertainty or market changes because it has a loyal customer base and an established reputation.

Creating a unique brand is a journey that requires courage, creativity and a deep understanding of the market. Imitating other established brands may seem like a simple solution, but in the long run it limits the potential for brand growth and recognition. Therefore, investing in developing and maintaining an authentic and unique brand identity is an essential strategy for long-term success in any market.

For new brands aspiring to establish themselves in the consumer goods market, we offer branding consultancy and services to help you develop an authentic and memorable visual identity. Get in touch with us!

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