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Monkey See, Monkey Do: Get that “follower” monkey off your back!

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Monkey see, monkey do

When being chastised for doing something questionable as a kid, I remember justifying my actions by saying, “but so-and-so did it!” You know what comes next, “Well if so-and-so jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?

Regardless of how adventurous and risky we may view ourselves and how cutting edge we may feel our business offering is, chances are it’s not. Why? Because human survival instinct makes us sheep. That’s right. We are born followers. Ninety-nine percent of us are copycats and one percent are Steve Jobs. (Alert: These percentages are for dramatic effect and not backed up by statistical data.)

Our parents reinforced the survival instinct by encouraging us to get it right, and get it right the first time. Mistakes were not encouraged. So, we have become a species that is magnetically attracted to the beaten path assuming it leads safely to success.

So, what happens when you hit the business world? Your tendency is to look around to see what everyone else is doing…and copy it. Sure you make it your own, but there is no original thought involved. The good thing: it’s safe. The bad thing: no one has a reason to choose your company or brand over all the others. And, you deprive your brand of the opportunity to be great.

All well and good, you may be thinking, but how do I pry that safe Monkey of Sameness off my back, without totally diving into the deep end?

In the words of the geniuses behind a very successful brand-building campaign, THINK DIFFERENT. For example:

The follower monkey is a hungry beast. If you keep feeding him with stale ideas, he’ll continue to grow. If you open your mind to new ways to showcase your brand, that monkey will head for the back of the line…where your competitors will be.

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