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Being a copycat is a complete nightmare (why your custom workwear should be as unique as you)

When starting a new business it can be easy to feel swamped with everything that needs to be done, especially if it feels unimportant compared to actually going out and getting new customers. Setting up a website, organising social media, ordering custom uniforms –it can all feel like a bit of a hassle when you’d much rather be getting on with the work you set out to do in the first place. Before you can even get started with these jobs you need to have your branding figured out which, while a lot of fun for a designer or those so creatively inclined, can be a total “where on earth do I begin” nightmare for anyone else. Eager to get started with your “real work” it can be tempting to borrow some ideas from your competitors’ image, after all they’re established and successful companies in your field so why not look to them for inspiration? Well you shouldn’t, and here’s why:

Nobody likes a copycat.

By copying your competitors branding it makes you look as though you are an inferior version of them. As a new business entering a busy market you will attract customers by appearing as a new and fresh company who bring something different to what is already being offered. Copying someone else before you’ve even started suggests you’ve got nothing original to bring to the table. No matter how outstanding your work people will judge your business based on their first visual impression, so you may always be “company Y that’s trying to be like company X”.

What if you end up being the best?

Obviously at the top of your field is where you’d like to be, so what happens when you surpass the competitor you took your branding inspiration from? You’re no longer piggybacking off their good reputation, now they’re benefitting from yours. If they suddenly start producing shoddy work you might even find your business taking a hit when you’ve done nothing wrong. People tend to quickly judge a situation without looking at finer details, so if a competitor has similar colours, uniform, logo or name to your business you may find customers assuming they’re part of your company.

There may be legal implications.

No one would suddenly call their company Coca-Cola or steal McDonald’s golden arches and expect to get away with it. Although these are big brands it is worth checking out whether any of your competitors have trademarked their logos or other elements of their branding, the last thing any new business wants are threats of legal action because your logo is possibly too similar to a rival’s.

And finally…

You started your business because you saw a gap in the market, because you could do something better or offer something different than what was already available. So why bother looking like somebody else? Your branding doesn’t have to be completely different and out there, but it should show that you are a unique company who doesn’t need to rely on others in the industry. After all, when you’re at the top the last thing you want is people copying off you.