Act deliberately crazy and no one will want to compete against you.
If you’ve read The Thirty Six Chinese Stratagems, then you’re familiar with the statement above. Here’s the stratagem if you don’t know it:
Feign madness but keep your balance
Hide behind the mask of a fool, a drunk, or a madman to create confusion about your intentions and motivations. Lure your opponent into underestimating your ability until, overconfident, he drops his guard. Then you may attack.
Grant McCracken wrote a post a few days ago that shines a light how Skechers is using said stratagem to compete against Nike, it’s worth a read.
Basically it works like this: if your opponent views you as crazy, he won’t feel threatened by your presence and so will not put up any resistance against you.
Skechers isn’t the only company that has put this strategy to work. Jones Soda, for example, adopts practices too outrageous to draw competitive retort. Back when they started they made all sorts of crazy moves, but none more important than putting their customers photos on their bottles, which has created an intense sense of brand loyalty.
Does Coca-Cola make their customers feel like they own the brand by putting their picture on their bottles? Exactly!
And that’s the key. By acting crazy, you convince your competitors to ignore you, and that gives you an opportunity to build your power base.
To be strategic is to be unconventional, and a little madness never hurts.