It’s a very fine line. And most people can tell and too many cross it.
All ideas are stems of something original. But not all ideas are original. We all subconsciously pick up on things and “think” or hell, even believe we came up with them. Nope. Most likely you did not. Unless you just found the cure for cancer, we’re all kinda copycats and have an amalgamation of ideas bouncing off one another.
I want to make a point in this article: if you are copying someone, that is theft and you will most likely be sued. Also, people will notice. Yep, let it sink in. It’s fucking illegal and you’re an asshole!
You cannot be like the master. Either you do better, get busted or just be original to begin with. People will always figure out the real source. I am in the branding + design world and I see too many copycats. A lot of work and branding begins to look the same and people just flat out steal your concept, slap on some pretty colours and think they’re going to get away with it.
Someone once copied my branding and my tribe was messaging me saying “hey, this looks like your stuff.” I have been around for almost 2 years, so people know who I am in those circles. And then, the same person had the balls to copy another designer friend of mine.
I am not the first person in my industry to come up with an instagram course, or a website course. My point is upon it’s release, I will make sure it’s different than the standard. 100% different on delivery and nothing anyone will actually expect.
But, did you recently see a course on a topic you’re interested in and decide to make your own? A product? Hell, a course name? Be careful. You’re treading on a slippery slope. Changing a bunch of words around doesn’t make it yours. It’s why most people have trademarks in place. Stealing ideas and adopting them are very different. You better lawyer up because that person is going to sue the fuck out of you!
That is copying.
Now, let’s talk about inspiration. Everyone who knows me, KNOWS I love Gary Vaynerchuk. I love his ideas. I consume his content on a daily basis and tweet at him at least 50 times a week. I draw inspiration from his teachings. I go on and implement those strategies with my own twist and teach them to my clients and in my free community.
Sometimes (a lot of the time) when I am stuck for ideas on branding a client, I turn to pinterest and browse so I can take notes and come up with something fresh. There are thousands of pins on there with every subject imaginable. You can even find copies of the same identical branding. I try to be better. I try to come up with something my client will fall in love with — because that’s what they hired me for but only by being original and creative.
I am often praised on my branding skills but that has ONLY happened because I am constantly pushing the envelope and challenge myself to come up with something unique.
You should too.
That is the difference.
Copying someone’s strategies and attempting to pass them off as your own is gross. Following someone into groups and private communities is a no-no, even though it’s an unwritten rule on marketing etiquette.
If you’re not pushing out original design, ideas, content etc, you will most likely fail. And I am not even being mean, I am just giving you hard facts.