By Samantha Hager

In cleaning and restoration, it’s no secret that the industry is highly saturated and standing out is often a major pain for business owners and leaders. However, there are still tactics out there to achieve success and rise above the competition. As a content marketing specialist first and foremost with over a decade of experience working with companies and magazines such as Slack, Forbes, Coca-Cola, Business.com, Bodybuilding.com, and Buzzfeed, what I may lack in restoration and cleaning knowledge, I make up for in marketing and content excellence and creativity.

With this being said, today, I’d like to break down the power of brand emulation as a business owner trying to stand out and also beat the competition both near and far. With this strategy in place, you can learn from your competitor’s mistakes, benefit from their successes, and find the ways your brand can reign supreme all with a modicum of research, dilligence, and effort on your end. However, to understand the value in brand emulation along with the many ways that other companies get it right and wrong, you must first understand what brand emulation truly is and how it works.

What is brand emulation?

Have you ever sat before a seemingly impossible feat and asked someone to go first so you could watch what they do? If so, you’ve already experienced a taste of what brand emulation aims to achieve for brand growth and success. According to Oxford Languages, emulation is the “effort to match or surpass a person or achievement, typically by imitation.”

The main function of brand emulation is to analyze your competitors in their entirety using data and social media analysis. With this information, you can see what they do well, where they struggle, and areas where you can stand out. in fact, some businesses have even made millions by cloning others outright and finding unique ways to make their ideas just a bit better.

The main things that you should analyze when putting together a brand emulation portfolio is their site traffic, marketing elements and color palettes, brand image and voice, how they interact with their customers and vice versa, and what services they offer at what prices.

To grasp what this looks like, let’s try analyzing an example:

For a carpet cleaning company, you may find that they use a casual tone online, have great site traffic, and use bold colors and marketing campaigns. You might also find that they interact with their customers regularly but the customers don’t often respond. Lastly, you might find that they offer a wide array of services but their reviews show that they aren’t always done with perfection in mind and are overpriced.

Taking this information, you can deduce that your brand will need to have a more professional tone, stick with the vivid and bold marketing strategies, communicate with customers in ways that engage them (offers, discounts, thought starters, competitions, etc.), and offer more focused services at an affordable price in an approved timeframe. This will let you benefit from their successes, learn from their fails without having to experience them yourself, and stand out through better communication, brand tone, and quality of work.

With one example brand emulation completed, you can now start compiling your own competitors, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and building out your brand emulation campaign just in time for the busy holiday season. However, as with any marketing strategy, there are pitfalls you must avoid. To understand what they are and how to overcome them, let’s take a look at the problem with sheer mimickry as a business below.

The problem with mimicking brands

Although brand emulation has definitive benefits for companies, using it in the wrong ways can lead to companies falling into a sea of conformity and anonymity. Although brand emulation focuses on mimicking the competition, you must not forget the most important part of the equation: standing out. The single most important aspect of brand emulation is finding gaps in your rivals’ brand images and strategies. With these determined and the effects of them also recognized, you can determine how to fill those gaps in your own business and find greater success in doing so.

For example, if your competition is struggling to get site traffic, it may be time for your brand to start a directory backlinks campaign in order to drive more traffic to your site and, thus, rank higher on Google than they do. Similarly, if they struggle with negative reviews based on their pricing, you may want to offer a guarantee of the quality of your service along with a more affordable pricing plan and discounts for referrals and new customers. Something as simple as this can help you to increase your customer base and even take from their own in the process. All in all, the success of your brand emulation efforts depend on your ability to not just mimick the competition but outwit and outperform them as well.

Brand emulation strategies for cleaning and restoration professionals

Now that you know the value of brand emulation and how to do it successfully, take these strategies below and begin your own brand emulation campaign successfully before 2023 even begins.

  • Be memorable

When looking at your competitors successes and failures, you will also want to look at their overall brand image and voice. Furthermore, is that voice actually reaching the target audience in a positive manner. Knowing this information, you can fidn ways to make your image and tone unique and memorable when compared to theirs. For instance, if your competitors are strictly professional, adding a meme or a more personal and family-oriented post on your blog and social platforms can help you to stand out and attract their audience more successfully than they do.

  • Be transparent

Secondly, transparency is key. Although you may already know this, when it comes to brand emulation, it’s a bit more complex than simply sharing your personal voice and goals with your customers. Instead, be transparent about the things that your competitors struggle with. If your competitors are struggling with finding and retaining good employees, share transparently how amazing your team is along with some of your positive reviews. This will showcase your success openly and also attract not just their disgruntled customers but also their past team members likewise.

  • Recognize when your competitors outdo your brand

One of the most important things about brand emulation is showing a bit of humility and blunt honesty with yourself and your team. If your competitors are doing things better than yo uare currently, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure—it just means you have work to do and a goal to achieve. By being honest about your own struggle areas, you can truly learn from your competitors successes and be able to eventually do just as good—if not better—than them in these areas.

  • Network with your competitors

Although most of your brand emulation tactics should be internal, it never hurts to create connections with your competitors. Networking with the other cleaning or restoration owners in your area can help you all to uplift one another, empower each other, and keep a closer eye on your wins and losses to learn and grow as leaders and brands. You may even be able to share customers if your services don’t directly align or if they become bombarded with too many clients on particular days or during busy seasons making it a very lucrative give-and-take opportunity.

  • Find your niche

Lastly, while this aligns with being memorable, it aims to make you go even further with this concept for even greater success. Just as you should be memorable, your clients may also have unique qualities that make them stand out from the rest. As such, you should strive to find your niche(s) in order to not just stand out from your competition but also broaden your consumer base and engagement online. For instance, if you are a disaster restoration brand and you specialize in hurricane disaster restoration jobs, you may want to turn to larger community building owners or churches to offer your niche services at a discount. In turn, they will be more inclined to recommend your services after natural disasters to their other connections in the community that are struggling and need restoration services.

Although brand emulation mostly revolves around watching and learning, the main thing to never forget is how you can stand out from the rest. After all, while athletes like Simone Biles or Rodney Mullen may have been inspired by other athletes such as Serena Williams and Ed Womble, it’s the ways they stood out and redefined their sports forever that make them such formidable forces of excellence and memorability. Now, it’s time for you to find your standout qualities, learn from the qualities of your competitors, and achieve unyielding success as a result.