Copying Isn’t Competitive, Is It?

Krystal - MirrorThis morning I came across Mike Wittenstein’s article, Can you steal an experience? The short answer, nope.  I encourage you click-thru and read his article (go ahead, we’ll wait…).

I think he’s spot-on.

A number of years ago, I was in a meeting with the VP Manufacturing for a large automotive supplier.  It was not uncommon for some of his employees to leave and go work for a nearby competitor.

We asked, “Aren’t you concerned about them copying your efforts, for ‘acme corp’?”

I’ve never forgotten his response, which was incredibly valid: “No, not at all.  We are competitive at what we do because of who we are and the processes that we’ve developed.  There’s no way anyone else could copy what we do here and be competitive as a result.”

As with your copying experience, more often than not, it simply doesn’t transfer as desired.  Fakes are eventually found out.

Sure, copying does occur. It is why copyrights, trade marks, and patents are all about.  You might follow someone else’s lead and come up with a functional copy of the original.  But the basis for the competition is completely different.  In that case, it’s not a function of copying process or culture.

Most of us can still tell a ‘generic’ apart from the original…save perhaps for generic drugs<g>.

1 Response to “Copying Isn’t Competitive, Is It?”

  • Andrew Stein June 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Clearly, products are no longer just “products,” and leading companies understand this. Products are always a bundled “product and service.” The Service is what supports a rich, and positive customer experience. Without the positive customer experience, competitive advantage goes to the competitor that does provide it in the way that customers love it enough to tell others about it. The reach is deep, into the sales and account manager relationship, repair, warranty, and even the pleasantness of the people on the end of the phone.

    One by one, industries are either reinventing themselves, or being reinvented by a new competitor entry that sees things differently (Netflix vs. Blockbuster, or Apple’s iPod and iTunes vs. every other MP3 player). It’s the plane of the user experience that you have to compete on, not the product.

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