As kids, we’re obsessed with fitting in. Our deepest fears are centred around being left out and we make behavioural, fashion and even lifestyle choices to gain the approval of our peers. This continues well into our teenage years no matter how many times we hear the words “just because your friends are doing it, does not mean you should too.”
And then as we approach adulthood, almost overnight, the script flips and the most backhanded compliment you can give an adult is implying that they’re not special.
I like to think that brands are like people. At inception brands are happy just for the chance to play in the category, fulfilling the same needs that the competition does. However, as they reach maturity, in an ideal world the best brands shed their “me-too” skins in pursuit of unique brand personas.
But a quick look across industries will show you that far too many brands are failing to grow out of “me-too” marketing. Colloquially termed ‘copycat’ marketing, the “me too” strategy is as big a problem for green horn brands as it is for even the most established brand names.