Imitation, Flattery and the Value of Experience
By Ben Gunkel, Chief Commercial Officer, PlayBox Technology
In my view, imitations often get a bad rap — from Elvis Presley impersonators and fake designer handbags, to technologies that are ‘just like the real thing’. Of course I’m not condoning imitators; imitators or imitations don’t necessarily mean that you, as an original brand, are losing money; instead, they can highlight the differences between products and show up the ways in which yours is better. In some instances, the presence of imitations on the market may even help the original brand by giving customers a keen appetite for the real deal.
The best example of this is a tribute band — you buy a ticket, see the concert and enjoy the entertainment. And at the end of the evening you go online and stream or download the album. But not of the tribute band — oh no, you buy the real thing.
We’ve all heard the phrase imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or a variation thereof, and nowhere is this truer than in the broadcast technology space. In most cases there are always cheaper versions of products and services on the market promising to match the features and benefits of more expensive, longer established products. While this may be true in some instances, it is also not always so. Customers underestimate the value that dealing with more experienced companies can bring to operations in the longer term, especially those with in-depth knowledge of the research and development behind the products and services.
Of course there may be savings in the short term — let’s face it, a cheaper product is a cheaper product. But in the B2B sector, in broadcasting and playout especially, customers are looking for a long-term investment that’s going to add to their business and make them money. And that’s where the experience and expertise of long-established players comes to the fore.
From a brand’s point of view, another form of flattery is being referred to by name to describe an entire range of products — if you want to find something, google it; if you need to wrap a present, Sellotape, write a note, Post-it or if you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner, Hoover. At the risk of being too overly self-promoting, if you had to buy a Channel in a Box, what would be the name on your lips?
So here’s a thank you to our imitators, for helping keep the PlayBox name top of mind.