Often imitated… AND duplicated


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If I were the Chobani brand, I’d be giving brands like Oikos and Dannon Greek a major side-eye after reading the title of this blog: Often imitated… and duplicated.

 Like it or not, that’s what happened. Chobani came along and disrupted the yogurt category with its highly popular, higher protein, Greek-style yogurt. And seemingly as quickly as intrigued consumers could google “What does Chobani mean in Greek?”, at least three other major brand Greek yogurt options appeared in the chiller (along with the regional private label offering).

As this case study from Adweek explains, Chobani then looked to innovation to set itself apart from these competitive imitators. The brand launched new products like Flip, only to have the likes of Yoplait and others duplicate and launch their own versions of the same products. (That side-eye just turned into a full-bodied, exasperated sigh)

But what I love about the story Adweek shares is how Chobani turned those challenges of competitive imitation and duplication into motivation and inspiration. Ultimately, imitation forced Chobani to define and create a more distinctive meaning for the brand: a meaning so singular and unique in the category that all imitators or duplicators will look like nothing more than Chobani wanna-bes.

In the words of Chobani CCO, Leland Maschmeyer:

“While our product is yogurt,” he said, “our business has always been wellness—nutritional and community wellness, and how food can be a source of good in the world.”

And this is how Chobani found its way back onto my list of Top 10 Mentor Brands. I’ll be writing more about Chobani and my favorite mentor brands throughout 2018, so stay tuned and stay in touch! Let me know what brands inspire you by emailing me at cpudik@pudik.com.