Fairly short and sweet, this post: try to avoid your brand becoming or being ‘the next’.
What do I mean by ‘the next’? I mean bringing out a new soft drink and calling it ‘the next Coke’.
Coke is the brand leading soft drink. If you call your drink ‘the next Coke’, all you’ll do is remind people of Coke… which they’ll then go and buy: why would they want to buy ‘nearly Coke’?
I see it in football a lot. A young, up and coming player is described as ‘the next Ronaldo’ or ‘the next Messi’, and – five years down the line – they generally haven’t lived up to the hype.
They would’ve fared better if they’d just been seen as a good player in their own right.
Ultimately, what you want to do is start a category of your own and become the generic standard, or innovate within that category.
For years, the generic standard was ‘Hoover’, instead of ‘vacuum cleaner’. Times change, and now ‘Dyson’ is used in place of ‘vacuum cleaner’.
The same is true for MP3 players. You don’t go into a shop for an ‘MP3 player’, you go in for ‘an iPod’… even if you’re not actually buying an iPod.
So, to boil it all down – aim to be the leader in your category, innovate within your category, or start a brand new category…. but don’t be ‘the next’: you’ll simply end up selling your competitor’s products.