Does Copying Lead to Creativity?
Nobody could claim I am any kind of fashionista. However, the culture in the fashion world, as explained by Johanna Blakley, of copying (clothing can’t be copyrighted) has an interesting application to social media strategy. This is true for both the trend follower and the trend leader.
The idea of social media campaigns is relatively new in the history of marketing. Because of this, it is fairly easy, still, to create something unique. For trend followers, this is problematic. If you are trying to enter into social media marketing, there just aren’t all that many really successful case studies to copy. But there certainly are a few, which means that ultimately, many companies are trying to do the same kinds of things. It isn’t that surprising that companies have tried to follow in the footsteps of Old Spice by creating their own humorous personas, which varying degress of success. Cisco comes to mind as a company that tried to design a similar campaign, but came up well short.
Although there are a relatively small number of great success stories, most, if not all, social media tools have been notably used in one way or another. This means that it is no longer possible to break new ground with a social media campaign using a new tool. However, since like the fashion industry, marketing has the ability to operate in a type of Zoolander-esque “walk off” (rules described by David Bowie as first model walks, second model walks and elaborates), new campaigns can find new space by elaborating or innovating.
This is how we end up with successful campaigns like this one by Ikea, that offered free products to Facebook users that were the first to tag a product in a showroom picture posted on Ikea’s Facebook page. Facebook campaigns are no longer original, but by locating a function of Facebook to take advantage of, in a way that hadn’t been done before, Ikea found a way to be creative and innovative that paid off for them.
Much like the fashion industry, it is this kind of behavior and culture that will continue to lead to our most interesting successes in the future.