01 Sep Stop competitors copying
In the business world, imitation is certainly not a form of flattery and unfortunately it is not all that uncommon. Many competitors are quick to cast aside their dignity when they sense a threat, and may not think twice about taking your point of difference as their own. When the customers you thought were loyal start jumping ship you question how this can be before realising that a schoolboy tantrum isn’t going to win your lost revenue back.
So what is an appropriate way to react?
Unfortunately by the time your competitors have copied you much of the damage could already be done. If this is something you’re facing now, it won’t be much reassurance to know that the trick is to be proactive. You have got to make sure your customers know why they should choose you over your competitors, regardless of whether or not there is a threat on the horizon. It’s likely that you’ll need to tell them more than once, so keeping in touch, reinforcing the same key points of difference every time, is critical. Chances are the ways you communicate with them now will go some way to achieving this repetition and understanding – but what you say and how you say it could be refined to make the message more powerful.
Building awareness of what your brand offers is likely to put competitors off copying you in the first place but if they still have the cheek then you might find their copycat offer is not all that compelling (or endearing) and your customers will stick with you regardless.
Being reactive in the face of the threat can also pay off.
How defensive you are is likely to depend on the situation itself, but in many cases your competitors are actually providing you with the opportunity to acquire some of their customers. Coming out fighting, even in a passive-aggressive sense, might be the fire in the belly you need to make sure your offer is getting the limelight it deserves. You might have heard that fast food chains all benefit when one is doing a promotional drive – you could find the same, that in copying you your competitor has generated interest in your industry sector that you can turn into revenue for yourselves. Justice served?