Dennis Conner, the helmsman who has won the most America’s Cup challenges, has said that the only way to beat an opponent sailing ahead of you is to find your own wind. What is true in competitive yacht racing is true in marketing: you cannot get ahead by copying the other guy. Just ask Aflac.
When Dan Amos, CEO of Aflac, trotted out his now-famous talking duck ad campaign in 1999, people said he was crazy. Crazy like a fox perhaps. The noisy duck has become one of the most successful ad campaigns ever, helping increase Aflac’s name recognition from 13 percent to more than 90 percent.
So, look around your company. Are you sailing in someone else’s wind? If so, in the same vein as Dennis Conner, you might want to do like Dan Amos did and try a different tack.