WalgreensnationalsEarly in my career, I was on a team prepping for a BIG new business pitch. It was for a product and the creative copy we used was something along the lines of “Better Torque, Better Horsepower, Better Grip, Better Get One.”

As I drove to the pitch that morning, I passed a billboard for a bank with copy along the lines of “Better Interest, Better Checking, Better Sign Up.” I had nothing to do with the creative copy. But it reinforced a phrase I’ve heard many times over the years: if it’s good, it’s been done.

A friend of mine launched a web redesign recently. The designer that worked on it did a great job. My friend then received a note pointing out the similarities between the new site and another company’s web site.
It’s a tough situation to be in. My friend did some homework and confirmed this similarity was completely coincidence.

And more obvious are logos. Last night I was reminded – again – of how similar the Washington Nationals and Walgreens logos appear. Coincidence? There are plenty of examples of similar logos. And plenty of reasons why this happens. But what’s a brand to do in a situation like this?

The phrase “if it’s good, it’s been done” is well-intended, but what do you do if you’re epiphany does not hold up to a Google search, or a patent search? Even worse, it passes all these things and doesn’t become apparent until after the launch.

As the big honking w’s in this post make clear, it’s not always as easy as simply tossing it out and starting over.

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