The Value of Competition

Posted on Jun 8, 2017 by

Recently, we had an exciting design opportunity come our way. We were one of three firms invited to participate in Brand Experience (BXP) Magazine’s 14th Annual Makeover Challenge.

Here’s how the Makeover Challenge works. BXP Magazine (formerly Package Design) finds a consumer products company that is willing to allow the selected branding and packaging firms to redesign the packaging for one of its current product lines. It’s a friendly competition with no cash reward, nor is it a spec project in which the winning team gets the work. It’s really an educational exploration to see how the three different firms will approach the makeover of a product working off the same creative brief and parameters. The three concepts are presented in the magazine’s August issue – the readers then vote and comment on which concept they think best meets the objectives and displays a unique design solution. The winning design is featured in the magazine’s year-end issue.

This new opportunity got me thinking about the idea of competition in our branding and packaging business.

Why compete? Generally speaking, it’s pretty simple. Competition not only forms the backbone of our free market system but of our culture – especially for small companies. I believe smaller companies thrive on proving that the craft of one’s chosen endeavor still has value and purpose and that relationships are as important (if not more so) as profits. And managed appropriately, competition is a good thing to keep us all on our toes.

But why do we at BrandDirections compete? For three reasons:

  1. Instinct. Sometimes we tend to think of competition as a response triggered by a desire to win or acquire a specific thing but I believe competition is instinctive, encompassing the essence of who we are and where our motivations come from. In the end, competition helps us understand how we stack up against others as we respond to customers branding and marketing needs by challenging our own adaptability.
  2. Curiosity. We’re curious. For example, who can find the best new idea or innovate the best solution? It’s the fuel for our creative engines. Competition tends to keep pushing us forward and further to become the first with a big new idea.
  3. Fun. We think it’s just plain fun.

Competition can be hard work, frustrating, and intimidating but ultimately it is rewarding; not only in the context of looking at something in a complete form but in knowing that perhaps we have accomplished something that will lead others, or that others in our field will seek us out as a partner. It reaffirms that we can break out of our paradigms and identify those areas where we can collectively and individually become better at our craft – and help our customers better connect their story with their consumers.

We hope you’ll check out BXP Magazine and follow the progress of the Makeover Challenge over the coming months.