Business Brand Lookalikes: Being Unique vs Following Another’s Lead

Most of my attention is on unique branding… creating it myself, featuring others in my brand interview series, and studying what others have or are doing.

Recently, I came across two “lookalike” companies and need to bring this out into the open for discussion. Over at my other blog, Frogs Are Green, we wrote a post, Tee Off For Frogs about how some golf courses are going eco-friendly and how this helps the wildlife as well as the earth. In our post we mentioned the company, Audubon International. They help businesses, organizations, and schools through a variety of programs, “…receive certification within one to three years depending on how quickly they plan, organize, implement and document their environmental practices.” Some of the companies featured on their site are Fedex and New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association.

Now you may be thinking is this The National Audubon Society? No, it is not. It has nothing to do with The National Audubon Society. This is why I want to discuss this.

About The National Audubon Society from their website:

Audubon’s Mission: To conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

Some info about Audubon International from their website:

Community Engagement, Planning, and Action
Helping community leaders and stakeholders to embrace environmental stewardship and sustainability as a central element of planning, policies, and practices.

Golf and the Environment
Seeking to assist golf courses in becoming a valuable part of our conservation landscape, while building support for more eco-friendly golf through the golf industry.

Both websites have a similar font for the business name and feature birds in imagery. Both companies have the word “Audubon” in the business name. So, should we just assume that Audubon International did this so that the general public would believe they were associated with The National Audubon Society?

I suppose in this case study, when creating a similar look for strategic marketing it can definitely be effective, but is it right? The big question is, do the members and clients who have joined or hired Audubon International for big bucks, know they are a completely different company?

Read what Wikipedia says about naming companies.

What do you think about this and have you seen two other “lookalike” businesses?

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