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Monday, 7 July 2014

Disrupt the Category Code

One of the strategies of Brands to become the industry leader, is by disrupting the Category Code.
 
And by disrupting I mean: revolutionizing, not just evolutionizing.
 
For sure also mere evolutionizing can lead to a competitive advantage.
 
The whole market offers the same stand-alone washing machine? You lift it up to the beautifully integrated one.
 
Or what about this change to this bottle of olive oil? All of a sudden it becomes a designy one: so the added advantage is you not only have olive oil, but it also makes your kitchen look good.
 
Such upgrades give you a temporary lead only, for if you're idea is a good one, one that appeals to the market, all competitors will follow suit.
 
However, you have connected with buyers who would not have thought of you before, so it's 'a small step for a company, but a great one for the potential of your market share'.
 
Notice how in these 2 examples the Category Code has been maintained. You still instantly recognize the machine as a washing machine, and the bottle to be one with olive oil.
 
People do not like to spend much time in a supermarket, do as a whole everything to dedicate as little time as possible to any decision - and if a product does not instantly look like the one they are searching for, could very easily overlook your offer, or even think it to be strange, less reliable: you confuse their expectations of how something should look like.
 
That is where the true industry leaders come in, the ones that grab the majority of the market: they revolutionize.
 
Instead of adapting to 'the Code' - let's call it the 'code of expectations' - they just change it.
 
Would you ever before 1990 have recognized this as a vacuum cleaner?
 
In most cases, you would have walked 10 times past it - 10 lost opportunities for the manufacturer. Regardless of the smaller size, the handy format, maybe even the stronger suction, longer lifespan, better price - it is very well likely you would have bought another brand, simply because you were looking for 'something that looked like a vacuum cleaner'.
 
This is a game that only the truly great, innovative Brands can play - making the market adapt to them, not the other way around.
 
Either which way, as in any other marketing or sales strategy - it are the ones that upgrade, stand out over anyone else or are ahead of time or in knowledge of consumer psychology, that grab the market. The ones who lead, not follow.
 
Happy disrupting!
 
Ben