When multiple companies operate in the same space, the space has to be big enough to support them all, or one of the companies will eventually differentiate themselves and prove victorious at controlling the market.
Sometimes, the market is big enough to support more than one leader. And when this happens, you most often see two companies that are so similar, it is hard to tell them apart.
I saw a commercial for Home Depot this morning, and without seeing the television screen, I assumed it was for Lowe’s. They both say the same thing, the voiceovers even sound the same (even though Lowe’s tries to use Gene Hackman’s voice to stand out).
It got me to thinking, what is the difference between the two companies? I have shopped at both, purchased from both, and been satisfied with both. But after thinking about it, I can’t come up with one single point of emphasis or difference that would cause me to choose one over the other.
Both have brand awareness, but has either worked towards brand loyalty. You would think that one of the two companies would try to differentiate themselves in such a way to gain market share over the other. But, from what I can tell, both are satisfied sharing the market with the other one.
There is a danger in becoming too complacent. If neither company is actively pursuing an industry that they can dominate, where is the innovation and creativity coming from. There is no motivation to change and grow. Eventually a new player can come along and stand out from the rest of the industry. And when that happens, it may be too late to change and adapt.
These two companies may be comfortable coexisting in this way, but if you own or operate a company, you should be very careful how similar you are to your competitors. Standing out is the best way to build awareness and loyalty at the same time so you can grow and keep your customer base.