Day of the clones

Simon Silvester

Tom is a brand manager. His approach is thoroughly professional. He's searching the world for best practice, and is bringing it to his brand. He's also benchmarking his brand against competitors, making it look as good as they do. And he's optimising his communication plans, ensuring they're best-in-class.

'Seeking best practice', 'benchmarking' and 'best-in-class' sound important. But they all mean Tom is copying his competitors. And because his competitors are professionals too, they are copying Tom back. In today's world, everyone is searching for the same best practice. Everyone benchmarks against each other. And everyone optimises their communications plans. Everyone is copying each other. And so their brands are becoming clones.

There's a further problem. Today we live in a world of (theoretically) perfect information. Everyone has exactly the same Google sitting on their desktop. All brands have access to high quality market research. All brands have high quality competitive intelligence. Faced with exactly the same information, it's difficult for marketers not to make exactly the same decisions. Easy access to information is turning brands into clones too.