By Laura Wallace  |  June 15, 2017


Chapstick is such a glorious item. It solves such a minute problem in such a big way. It brings back moisture, sometimes color and who doesn’t have their favorite go-to brand? I can go for days and not think about it, but the second someone whips out their chapstick and puts it on, my brain says, “Oh crap! I must have chapped lips, too!” So what do I do? I pull out my chapstick and take care of that nonsense. Did I really need it? Probably not. But I sure do feel better about myself.

This got me thinking about branding and marketing (I know, the weirdest things make me think about this stuff) and how often times companies will do this very same thing, only not with chap stick, but with their identity. They’ll see a competitor or even another company try something and think, “Oh! I need that, too!”

There’s nothing wrong with a little positive influence to get the creative gears going. We learn a lot by seeing others practice something and succeed at it. This method can open up an opportunity that you may not have known existed prior to seeing someone else practice it. However, what we want to stay away from is doing the same thing reactively vs. with a purpose.

Let’s consider this. If an auto dealer sees another auto dealer put an ad on the radio and run it in the evenings on family channels, they may be inclined to do the same thing. “If they’re doing it, that must be right!” The bigger question to ask yourself is, does this form of marketing attract and engage OUR customers? If the folks you’re mimicking have a completely different target audience than you do, yet you market in those same ways, you’ll find yourself frustrated and wondering why it didn’t work.

Here are a few things to consider before jumping head first:

1. Are our customers there? – When thinking about advertising, marketing, social media or events, ask yourself: Are our customers there? Are they using those platforms? If not, where are they? Invest in the places that have the most reach to the right people.

2. Does it align with your brand? – Think about the exposure, placement, and purpose of the places you’re putting your mark. Do these places align and support your company’s brand? A fitness trainer probably isn’t advertising in a publication dedicated to desserts.

3. Does it support your goal? – Think about what your goal is for your company. Is it to gain new clients? Expand your brand into a new market? Gain exposure? Sell a particular product? Using your goal as a spearhead can help you narrow down your options.

4. Is there a strategy? – What do you want to accomplish? Think about your message, style, and culture. How do these things play into your branding and marketing strategy?

Chapstick is a wonderful tool, but don’t fall into chap stick marketing – mirroring the person in front of you for the sake of doing something that feels comfortable and easy. Consider your options and do what’s right for you. You’ll have more satisfaction and a few more success stories if you do.

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