How haughty can one get about competition

Filed Under (Marketing) by Rajesh Kumar on 04-11-2009

It is daily that one finds car companies comparing their upcoming car and ‘any other thing on wheels’. It is also a common occurrence to find soap and shampoo manufacturers comparing their product and ‘any other ordinary’ product . People in my generation recall the ad with the line ‘adha kilo surf kisi aur sadharan powder ke ke ek kilo barabar hota hai’. Bike companies in India have long done feature-to-feature competition with competition products for ages.

It is one thing to call your competition as ‘any other’ or common (‘sadharan’ in Hindi). Basically the objective in such communications is three fold. One, to show product superiority. Two, to show that the competition as a commodity. Three, not to allow competition any visibility at your cost.

But to call your competition fake?! I find it rather strange that an purported original, which actually came into being (or purported prominence) after the purported original (rumoured or alleged), reportedly calls the purported fake as fake?! Leaves you clueless?

It is quite a known fact that Zoho is among the most promising and closely watched SAAS based service provider for desktop services(and elements of enterprise services, just a bit of it). It is also among those that came into being before even Google Docs was launched. But it is being called fake! The purported original, to the best of my understanding, largely existed in a much different form and shape, though at one level they do compete for the same space. How about calling the pizza fake because the corn exists! And Microsoft’s pizza, though fresh and nice smelling, came after Zoho’s office productivity suite had celebrated its birthdays. So it is what, a fake based on another fake’s success, or a fake based on the implied original?

Some someone invented a writing instrument, say, a pencil. And another one invented another, entirely different in concept and ideas, let’s say, a pen. So, by the above logic, the pen is a fake pencil. And the guy who invented the computer printer is an absolute thief!Wow!!

Sridhar Vembu of Zoho is understandably ballistic. And look at Zoho’s creative (and humorous response to Microsoft).

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    About Rajesh Kumar. Rajesh is based in Chennai, where he works for Defiance Technologies in Marketing. The views on this blog are his own. Rajesh Kumar