What if we viewed competition as a motivation, not a set-back?
First with your head, then with your heart
Counterfeit, imitation, fake. A nightmare for any brand, especially a small business that lacks the means to fight back. This was the reality earlier this year for a South African clothing brand. A family business spanning generations and built on the purpose of delivery bespoke apparel to an exclusive audience. This was not a contender in the same weight division as Nike, Adidas and the like. What seems to happen, as the brand gains popularity and prestige, it becomes more susceptible to imitation.
A futurist, Xolile Martin, had been offered a counterfeit of this local brand’s products. It was being sold in China Town malls and online platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp. He alerted the brand of the fakes circulating at a fraction of the original’s cost. Understandably, the brand was shocked. The challenge seemed impossible to tackle. They decided to take a legal approach; warning its online audience of fakes, announcing their collaboration with authorities, and encouraging people to only buy through official channels.
Living in a DELA
The commodification, fetishisation, and appropriation of culture is a delicate, entangled, thorny problem. Essentially, brands create and shape culture – in terms of behaviour, values, aspirations, identity, and more. For those who are deeply rooted in legacy or have strong heritage connections, this requires further consideration and contemplation for how one disruption, change, or intervention could impact an entire ecosystem in which it exists.
We can apply the DELA framework to help us make sense of the story that is unfolding, and to shape our own narrative going forward.
Rather than fighting against something, brands have the choice to fight for something; to create a new consumption space, to tap into another audience, and to draw on localised trends. This is an opportunity to connect with people and ideas in a way that builds long-term relationships, calls them to action, and instils a sense of collective purpose behind a shared vision.
Originally published on Marklives