Accidental Marketing Copycats: When Inspiration Gets You in Trouble

Unique Brand of Shoes

In the field of marketing, uniqueness is what makes a brand stand out. When a tag line or a poster is original (and creative), it will attract the target audience.

Staying original, however, can be a challenge. The field of marketing offers inspirations for the next trend or ad that works with the audience. Most advertisements or materials are re-hashed versions of strategies that worked. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If you do not draw inspiration carefully, however, you might end up committing plagiarism.

Drawing Inspiration or Copying?

Commercial law firms find intellectual property a big deal in all aspects of the business, particularly in marketing. Originality is important, but it can be tricky when marketers draw inspiration from one another.

Marketers learn from the wins and losses of the competition. Strategically, they apply what they learn to their own brand. They search for strategies that work and re-apply it to their own marketing plan.

There is nothing wrong with re-applying or drawing inspiration from other brands — but only to a point.

The Risks of Copycat Marketing

Some brands end up dabbling in copycat marketing. Whether it’s unintentional or not, businesses are bound to copy what they see. Call it inspiration, but when the inspiration fails to translate to originality, it might result in legal issues.

It’s important to be mindful. Accidental copycats happen, but only a few escape the consequences. Offended businesses can use plagiarism against the copycat brand when they prove the latter failed to make the inspiration their own. When it’s clear they just copied off another brand, higher authorities will take charge.

Transformation of Ideas

To prevent plagiarism, experts offer a simple advice: ‘Make it your own.’

Inspiration is fine as long as there is no plagiarism. Taking inspiration means adding a personal touch to lessons gained from the competition. Brands should apply their own essence, voice and emotional benefits to their ideas. When they make it their own, others cannot lay their claim on it.