Monday, August 19, 2013

Imitation: the Sincerest Form of Intellectual Property Theft

By Vin Ferrer / Social Media Strategist, NJ Marketing Agency, Graphic D-Signs, Inc.

You see it everywhere: at the supermarket, in the media, and especially in business.


Allegedly the sincerest form of flattery, imitation is better defined in business terms as the polar opposite of innovation and the definitive deal-breaker for attracting prospects.

When it comes to the look and feel of a brand’s image – the entire point is differentiation.  In this age of sensory overload, your brand needs to stand out and stick in the minds of your target consumers. You want to ensure that you are the clear and decisive favorite, the industry standard, and the emerging legend. Our society’s insatiable need for top ten lists, best-in-show awards, and unforgettable experiences is a testament to how important this really is.

Original v. Conventional

No one wants to pay for an average or ordinary service. In fact, consumers will go out of their way to inform others against falling into the same trap in the event they do. So your brand must rise above.

That means innovation, novelty, and newness. The best way to do this is through your brand’s image. It’s the first interaction any potential consumer is going to have with your product or service, and it needs to be on point.

Take a moment and recognize the brands you know and love. In most every case, your affinity for each brand started with a promise made by their image—a logo, website design, or themed advertisement. It captivated you, impressed you, or maybe even peaked your interest. The bottom line: it promised a quality experience to follow, and it got you hooked.

The Road Less Traveled

When it comes to your brand’s image, the only thing that mimicking an already thriving company’s image accomplishes is setback. People always try to duplicate a proven method, but a petty copy/paste job for your brand’s image is more like shooting yourself in the foot. Using a replication of an already existing image for your own business communicates dishonesty, artificialness, and inferiority.

Our agency has experienced a number of instances in which other companies appeared to have near carbon copies of logos, images, and designs we worked hard to create for our clients. While small business owners may not be aware of the shortcuts a hired designer took to create their brand’s image, such will not excuse them from potentially being brought in to a costly trademark infringement case.
Our interconnected world and the competitive nature of consumers and businesses alike do everything to ensure that falsities in the public eye are realized and dealt with accordingly. Businesses need to recognize the expensive legal implications that exist when intellectual property is sampled or stolen.

Moreover, it puts a serious blow to your brand’s integrity, which in many cases can be fatal.

A Much Needed New Path

Repeatedly seeing the spitting image of the work we do for our clients is off-putting, but assuring. We are continually working to raise the bar for our craft and quality, and there’s bound to be some competitors who overstep the boundaries of flattery when they see spectacular design.

Public relation faux pas can be addressed. Unhappy customers can be appeased. But a lackluster brand image is something that requires much more legwork. Now more than ever, businesses must compete strenuously to gain, engage, and maintain their target market’s attention. Any inkling of averageness only makes it easier for consumers to remove your brand from the equation.

Thankfully admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Investing in your brand’s identity, image, and upkeep is critical to realizing the breadth of your potential. 

Due to pending litigation, we are not able to provide examples of our work being sampled.