I\u2019m not a big fan of copying, and I try to use limited portions for reference in my writing. I\u2019d say it\u2019s that I prefer writing in short form rather than long over-pontificating.\nMy opinion on imitation in terms of PR, marketing and advertising also differs from many others. There are those who subscribe to the \u201cwhy recreate the wheel\u201d mentality, which is to say they don\u2019t mind jumping on bandwagons and hitching their cart to trends. I understand that certainly, but I don\u2019t recommend following competitors so closely that you get lost in the crowd. It\u2019s difficult to differentiate yourself in message when your marketing, graphics and advertising so closely mimic those of your competition.\nThis is an increasingly visual world and prospects expect to see differences so that they can narrow down their choices of vendors. If your style is so similar to the competition, visitors start becoming confused between you and others. Additionally, if you choose to also mimic phrases and sections of capabilities (\u201cthat\u2019s so catchy, let\u2019s use it - because, well, we can do that too!\u201d), you\u2019ve lost your identity entirely.\u00a0Copying another company\u2019s story is sure to confuse people and dilute your message, and with so few opportunities to tell a story and talk about who you are as a company, it\u2019s important to claim your own identity.\nRemember \u201cGot Milk?\u201d I don\u2019t know how many t-shirts I have seen over the years at trade shows with a version of that, replacing the word milk. Got data? Got storage? Got Hadoop? How mind-boggling boring, and the eye rolls when people saw the tongue-in-cheek message were practically audible. Those poor vendors undoubtedly went home with a few leftover t-shirts. People certainly took them, but I bet there are elementary school students all over the world wearing outsized versions for PE, their friends asking \u201cwhy does your shirt say data instead of milk?\u201d Don\u2019t get me wrong, there are certainly some nods to nostalgia that work. This wasn\u2019t one of them, in my opinion. It was lazy marketing.\nHere\u2019s why it doesn\u2019t do a company any favors to copy its competition:\n\nIt makes it difficult to focus on your own company and product capabilities and strengths.\nIt stifles creativity and frankly, it\u2019s lazy.\nIt puts you in the same box as the company\/product you\u2019re copying (and anyone else copying them) so prospects make assumptions about you. (Also, you better hope some major industry shakeup doesn\u2019t happen or you're shaken right along with them, for better or for worse.)\u00a0\nIt's always better to define your product than let someone else, which is what you're doing as a me-too.\nYou\u2019re automatically second (or third, fourth, etc.), chasing the one you\u2019re copying - why not overtake them and make them copy you?\nYou\u2019ll never differentiate if you\u2019re copying. Sure, you can say you have features 1, 2, 3 and 4 but also 5, 6 and 7, but you\u2019ve copied everything else so nobody\u2019s listening anymore. Assumptions have been made - game over.\n\nIf you have been brilliant enough to develop a product and your engineering and product team has worked day and night to deliver it, doesn\u2019t it deserve a unique look-at-me marketing and PR campaign? Doesn\u2019t it deserve more than a few hours trolling the internet for copycat ideas? Than reusing exactly the same website templates as everybody else in your market? The same cut-and-paste content? The same graphics, styles and color palettes? I didn\u2019t think so.\nI\u2019m all about recycling but there\u2019s a time and a place. Be bold, tell your story and stand out. It\u2019s absolutely clear what Oscar Wilde meant (so many forget the second half of the quote) when he wrote \u201cImitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.\u201d\nIf any imitation is going to happen, let the mediocre imitate you.