LIMITATION TO IMITATION

Cynics will tell you that copying somebody else's ideas equals creativity.

As most other industries, the pet industry is prone to copying.

The question however is: "have the copiers been able to leave a lasting impression"?

More often then not the answer is: no!

Strategy ranks # 1 on the chart of abused words in management parlance; innovation is a close second!

Yet companies do maintain that they innovate; mainly because they take somebody else's concept, tweak it a little and bring out a "new and improved" product.

The apparent success of these tweaked propositions is caused by the good relationships that the copying manufacturers have with their trade-partners. So selling-in is not the toughest thing to do. And getting some product-rotation for first shipments isn't too difficult either; offer an introductionary-discount to the end-user and some will try the product.

The question is however: how sustainable is the product once it is left to live it's own life, i.e. without promotional support?

In the vast majority of cases copies undercut the prices of the original. Whereas total manufacturing-cost + the added general overheads are not necessarily lower for copies than for the original. The consequence is that copies sold cheaper than the original have less – if any – margin left to invest in the market, whereas the continuous investments in the market are required for sustainability of the brand and the product.

The paradox lies with the retail-trade

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