02.26.18 / Keith Kriegler

Recently I saw a new campaign for Sprint, maybe you saw it to. It’s where when you sign up for Sprint you get Hulu for free. Makes sense, right? You can stream content from Hulu on your mobile device and Hulu is a recognizable brand that has value to consumers. There’s a but coming, can you sense it? 

Remember back in late fall, around October, just before the holidays when another company did a similar program? It was when T-Mobile announced a free subscription to Netflix when you switched to their carrier. Same offer as Sprint had but T-Mobile’s came almost five months earlier.  

Sometimes companies are very reactionary to their competition rather than coming up with an original idea. Instead, they do what their competitor does just using another option. It happens all the time, across all categories, but the problem is people see through it. 

From a brand standpoint, I believe it hurts the equity, and integrity, of a company that follows suit in such a transparent manner. Most people I know what to be associated with a leader, not a follower. I believe Tom’s shoes was the first company to donate a pair of shoes to children in an underserved country when you bought a pair of their shoes. It is a great concept, original and charitable so it’s worthwhile to follow the model if you chose to, as long as you put your spin on it.  

Walgreen’s has done a nice job in taking the Tom’s model and made it their own. The concept is when you get a flu shot from Walgreen’s, they give a flu shot to a child in need. To me, this makes good sense because it fits Walgreen’s business model. They took Tom’s program and made it relevant to their brand and did a good job communicating the benefits the program offers to their customers. This allows customers to feel good about going there and supporting others in need. I got my flu shot from there because of the program.  

Being first to market is key, but if you decide to follow suit using another company’s model, take the time to make sure it’s relevant and different so people see its value and it does not get viewed as a copycat. Being first to market with an idea is key to successfully winning consumers’ loyalty, but if you take a great idea and make it your own, it can be just as successful, and rewarding, for both the brand and consumers.  

To your success. Keith