B+B Episode 6: Competition

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What is competition anyway?

  • There are two ways of looking at competition: on one hand there’s the physical, real competition — over things like food or mating partners between peers of one species — and psychological, mental competition — gaining advantage over someone or something else over something that might not be directly relevant. These are two very different ways of competing that generate two different ways of behaving.
  • Whom (and how) you chose to compete with mentally also transforms you physically. You physically become what you mentally compete with. Think grasshoppers turning into locusts. (do read on, it’s pure nature going bonkers).
  • An example is the language we use in a competition. The object of our competition determines the kind of language we use. In turn, the kind of language we use influences our behaviour. And eventually, we become the very thing we wanted to compete with. Basically, fake it till you make it.
  • Translating to brands… The terms on which one brand choses to compete with another determines the language it will use and how it will behave. And that language and behaviour will end up transforming not only the brand itself (remember, perception is reality), but also the consumers of that brand. We are, as Pablo put it, “las marionetas de los dioes” — and Gods are Brands.
  • If competition makes one transform and evolve into something that you wanted to be, it means it is something good, right?


So that’s competition… But why?

  • Competition — as we know and understand it today — is very much something intrinsic. It’s a rationale that we create that gives us endorphins.
  • So, in a way, competition, is the fight over endorphins. In other words, we compete because we like winning.
  • Brand exists and compete inside of our imaginations.
  • All startups are born hoping they will be bought by their largest competitor.
  • Competition in the world of branding is like going to a party where everyone is dressed the same, but you know there is a personality behind that.

Is competition any use?

To wrap up out conversation, we landed on a couple of open-ended, rather philosophical questions, that I encourage you to explore in your own frame of design thinking.

  • And what is winning useful for? Does winning create innovation? (guess is the chicken and egg dilemma once again)

Design Strategist. I analyse stuff and have opinions about it.

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