“In the real world, companies copy and succeed “. That’s what the Economist In its 12 May 2012 issue says.
Its article was aptly titled: “Pretty profitable parrots: For businesses, being good at copying is at least as important as being innovative”
History shows that imitators often end up winners.
There are several examples cited. Germany’s Samwer brothers, Alexander, Oliver and Marc, are legendary copycats. They have made huge fortunes replicating American internet models in other markets, sparking outrage in an industry which prides itself on invention. . The brothers copied the latest trends and some of their copycat efforts have actually been acquired by the original innovators themselves such as the acquisition of Dailydeal , a clone of Groupon that was sold to Groupon. One of their recent efforts is Pinspire, an online pinboard with a similar layout, colour scheme and features to those of Pinterest, the latest craze in social media. The Samwer brothers are telling young entrepreneurs that “the ideal way to make money is by copying something that works in the US, then selling it back to the original.”
Apple imitated others’ products but made them far more appealing. The iPod was not the first digital-music player; nor was the iPhone the first smartphone or the iPad the first tablet. Apple excels integrating the best features of others, give its product an elegant design and together with its brilliant marketing strategy dominates the market.
Les Wexner, the owner of famous lingerie retailer, Victoria’s Secret, has a philosophy that business should celebrate imitation. He regularly takes a takes a month off to travel the world looking for other companies’ ideas to copy.
The pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer has joined in the copycat game by starting generic-drugs businesses themselves.
Pampers stole the disposable nappies idea from the pioneer Chux.
Ray Kroc, who built McDonald’s, copied White Castle, inventor of the fast-food burger joint.
Studies showed that imitators do at least as well and often better from any new product than innovators do. Followers have lower research-and-development costs, and less risk of failure because the product has already been market-tested.
A study by Peter Golder and Gerard Tellis, “Pioneer Advantage: Marketing Logic or Marketing Legend”, found that innovators captured only 7% of the market for their product over time.
The article concluded that copying is here to stay and suggested that businesses may as well get good at it.
The author, Dr.YKK has trademarked his 7-Step Copycat Innovation System that fast-tracks innovation with minimum risk and using the least money, time, efforts and resources. To get a 8-page report on this subject, please go to www.mindbloom.net or send an email to DrYKK@mindbloom.net