tisdag 2 december 2008

Copies for better and for worse

It is easy to find cheap clothes in Nepal - if you are ok with buying copies of the well-known brands. I have not checked, but I assume that some countries have said No Thanks to the large companies when they want to protect their brands legally on the local market. The copycat-business is enormous, both for tourists and locals.

In outdoor-equipment you can find copies of brands like Mammut, Marmot, Nike, Adidas, Haglöfs, North Face, Patagonia... You can actually choose a piece of clothing, tell the shop-owner which logotype you prefer, and get it embroidered on the garment within a few hours. This evens out the different styles of the brands.

There are obviously reasons why this is negative for the original brand.
1) Poor quality of the copies will hollow out the image of the original brand
2) Copies will cannibalize on the sales of the original stuff
3) The style and fashion of the copies does not always rhyme with the original
4) If/when the quality of a copy is good, it will make it harder to justify the price-difference of original vs copy.

Could there possibly be any positive aspects of these copies? I believe so.
1) Just the fact that you´re being copied is quite an acknowledgement which strengthens your image
2) The target group of the originals and the copies is probably not quite the same. In this way the brand (= the copy of it) will be spread to a larger amount of people

We think we may own and rule our brands, but the market is actually playing tricks with us right in front of our eyes. We depend on our customers, but they can also throw a spanner in the works if they don´t value the qualities of our original brand high enough. We need to find new strategies to handle this.