Millie Kendall, CEO of the British Beauty Council;
“I cannot tell you how many bath and body brands come to me and tell me that they’re aiming to be the next Aesop. But that’s the clever thing about classic branding - if you have the right identity and stick to it, everyone who wants to emulate you will just look like they are copying you.”
I came across this experience reading about a wonderful entrepreneurial tale.
Melbourne hairdresser sought to soften the ammonia odour from hair colourants in his saloon.
Experimented with his own mixtures.
Between 1987 and 1990, the fledging idea grew to become the fulltime preoccupation.
Today, their products, led by their hand wash, see the brand worth over $1.5bn with global giants battling to take ownership.
What the citation above shows, is that straight imitation, in whatever form but especially in aspiration, is a dangerous pursuit in our solutions space.
In my main sector, down the years I too have heard both suppliers and potential users reference players such as Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce.
When I've been asked if I'm the next so-and-so 'appreneur du jour', I've emphatically exclaimed that I am most definitely not. My focus being on one specific, sadly under-served element. On which my development is laser-focused.
It's a bit like when you hear startups talk of 'getting one-percent of China'. It's a fallacy. A false god. An overwhelmingly rapid route to failure.
When asked where you're headed, I find it much better to present the rapier micro, rather than clichéd macro.
Instead of plain emulation, what is the specific, client-angled, untrodden path you seek?