They may say ’Imitation is a form of flattery’, but what about when Imitation becomes copying? …
As the user virtualization market continues to grow at an astonishing rate, I am aware that as new competitors enter a market, or when existing competitors enhance their positioning, some may look to what has proven successful for the established leader.
Recently you will have hopefully noticed that AppSense updated our corporate branding, messaging & positioning as the world moves to a people-centric computing model. During this creation process I also took the opportunity to look back at the previous versions of our brand and messaging, and I noticed something quite interesting – we must be on to a good thing, as there are several examples of ankle-biting imitation I would like to share with you…
… You may be familiar with the (inaccurate) comparison tables and blogs published by such new or recently revamped competitive technologies, comparing their products and point solutions to the AppSense User Virtualization solution. However that is a topic for another day, what I want to focus on today in this blog post is the adoption of AppSense style branding in their go to market messaging… let me give you a few examples.
Section 1 – Use your own crayons.
We live in a creative and digital age – diversity is everywhere, everywhere apart from the graphic design and branding departments at Liquidware Labs (LWL) and RES Software…
Case 1. – Sore Throats and Lozenges
It would appear the boys at LWL spend more time creating inaccurate comparison tables and positioning their product as a second class half price alternative to AppSense instead of creating some original corporate branding. Below you will see an image showing a portion of the welcome screen in the AppSense product console.
And below is our AppSense Management Suite offering:
I think many of you will be familiar with the above, it’s been in our software for years and we have been presenting this Suite for years at industry events. So I was a little surprised, well, flattered to see our branding on the LWL website homepage:
Notice the similarities to both layout and product icons? I guess the boys at LWL must have sore throats from shouting all the incorrect statements about AppSense, because wow, they really like their Lozenges.
Case 2. – Where’s your head at?
Ok, so you may be thinking that’s not so much of a big deal, so what if LWL copied layout and product icons… but what about adopting a very similar image that AppSense is well known for – the virtualized user head:
Most of you will have seen the above images; it was our latest branding up until our recent uplift. Admittedly, when most of you first saw it you asked “What is it?!” but that’s good – it provokes thought and opens doors to conversation.
A while ago I received a LWL email newsletter, with a rather striking, and familiar image… some form of virtualized or digital user?! Surely not? First the lozenges and now the head? You can see it in the screenshot below, what do you think?
Case 3. – Tangled in the lines
After product icons and virtual head images comes the graphics used in web pages and banners. Below is a sample of one of the old pages on the www.AppSense.com
The below sample was taken from the RESguru blog homepage – admittedly this blue themed banner was used prior to the recent RES rebrand to orange.. But color aside.. Looks nothing more than add a few bright particles and change the words?!
And today we have the slogan ‘More Technology – Less Koolaid!’ – Mr. Guru, I suggest something more fitting, ‘More Copying – Less Originality!’ perhaps? ;-)
Section 2 – It’s only words, and words are all I have…
Messaging and branding aside, which are in fairness only references to similarities between our branding styles, the more alarming content copying comes in the form of content and wording used in Admin Guides and Job Postings:
Case 1. – Administer this.
How many times have you heard or said ‘RTFM’? Well, what if I were to suggest if the ‘The’ in RTFM was in fact ‘THEIR’?, because if you are a RES Software customer, and you want to learn about Windows Appearance and Control Panel Settings, you may as well read the AppSense Environment Manager How To document, because that is where they copied the wording from. Below is a short snippet from our document:
With the above in mind, now look at the wording in the below snippet take from a Workspace Management product document… almost word for word replication:
I mentioned earlier that imitation is a form of flattery, but this is bare faced lazy copying, and certainly is not flattering… imitating our features 12 months later is one thing, but please – write your own admin guides for them :-)
Case 2. – If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
(or at least try and attract the same people as them.)
Hands up who has ever used Copy + Paste? Everyone yes?
Ok, hands up if you have had the nerve to Copy + Paste direct from your competitors website, and then post it under the context of your company.. In full public view?! – Everyone No? – Everyone, apart from a corner cutter at RES Software.
Below is a screen shot of an old job description from AppSense.com, a standard job description we have used for years, in fact the job I first joined AppSense as almost 8 years ago.
Now, I noticed a few folks at RES Software had posted comments in the AppSense group on LinkedIn – no problem there, I’m all for discussions and ideas (keep it up).However from there I clicked onto the RES Software group and saw, what I can only describe as (I would say shocking, but I am not shocked, I have already seen the use of our content in their product documents) embarrassing – Advertising a job, using your competitors job description. Please see below.
I know it may seem only a small thing, but please, come on. That isn’t cricket.
You’re welcome at the table…
I am all in favor of additional vendors joining this space, the market potential is huge – the more we have, the more focus and recognition as to the importance of the user component of the desktop, the more innovation, and the more options available to end user customers – what I do object to is the recycling of AppSense created content.. if you’re going to join the table… at least come with your own chips.
For now, sit back – and enjoy your favourite song guys..
P:S – more to follow.