They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but just because it works for them doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. You can’t pull off a block fringe like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction and you can’t pull off Apple’s marketing strategy either.
It can be tempting to replicate what someone else is doing because you can see they are having a great deal of success with it and you want to too. But just like Uma’s fringe, whilst it looks amazing and super easy – it works for her because she’s her – it may just look like a terrible pudding basin haircut on you.
Running with the herd
It’s hard wired into us to stay with the herd and do what everyone else is doing because if something goes wrong; well no one would question how you got it wrong if you’re doing what everyone else is doing. As children we learn how to do things by copying others and it can be a very hard pattern to break. Looking up at the level above us and saying – I want to be like that when I grow up, I want to run my business like that. And yet, it’s most likely that everyone you want to emulate is different, that they have all made their mark on the world BECAUSE they are different. They have zigged when everyone else was busy zagging. So how can you zag?
Challenge the Status Quo
Question the norm – look at what people are doing and ask yourself why are they doing it that way? If you were presented with that problem would that be the answer you came up with?
I am not saying to go out and recreate the wheel, but take the time to look at what is facing you and the solutions you have and then really question if they are right for you. And if not, then try something new!
Don’t copy this list, but these are some everyday aspects that you could challenge
- Always done all your advertising offline because you don’t think online is for you or clients – challenge that mysterious online world. ( hint – you can always get a little help if it’s too mysterious)
- Always thought you had to be the cheapest? Maybe your customers are happy to pay a little more because you offer more than just a product
- Always got all your leads from one particular channel? Maybe this will change?
There is an old cautionary tale about a family of hedgehogs teaching their youngest to cross the road, and the dad explains that the safest place is right in the middle of the two bright lights. He dashes out onto the road and when the car comes he hunkers down in between the two lights and the car passes safely overhead. Not convinced the baby hedgehog gets his mum to show him again. She runs out into the road and seeing the bright lights she curls up right in the middle of them – whoosh the car goes over again. So the baby hedgehog trots out in the road and seeing the bright lights he lines himself up right in the middle and is squashed flat. Because not all cars have 4 wheels, some are Reliant Robins with three wheels!
Don’t do what everyone else is doing! It could be lethal!