The most exciting companies create. They give us new ways of living, thinking and doing business. Many times they're solving a problem we didn’t know we had or a problem we didn’t pay attention to because we never thought there was another, perhaps better way.
These companies don’t only invent something to sell us. They're not making products or services to incrementally improve on what came before.
They don’t just sell us better, the most exciting companies sell us different.
Here are some examples of category creation:
The Discipline of Category Design
Category Design is a discipline of creating and monetizing new markets in a noisy world. The journey starts first with understanding the problem that you desire to solve. The problem is the proxy for the category and is the strategic element you see missing in the world. That unsolved problem is what keeps you up at night, and drives you to build a product, company and category to solve it.
Category Design Has Existed for Decades
In fact, many of the greatest category leaders have been practicing this discipline at an instinctual level. These legends made sure that the world understood why their breakthrough innovations mattered. They educated the market about why they should consider doing things in a new way with a new product. They intuitively lead their markets by teaching customers why they should abandon old ways and embrace the new world.
The Key Steps in the Category Journey
Identify the Problem
Articulating the problem and your unique technology or market insights is the first step of your category design journey.
Define the Category Name
Defining the name of the category is a big step to helping the world understand the container for the problem. The category name is often comprised of the market type, the nature of the problem, and the audience who has the problem. It’s a name that will evolve over time as your category expands.
Publish Your Category Blueprint and Ecosystem Map
Sharing your category vision requires a visual blueprint and ecosystem that maps out the people, processes, and products required to fulfill the category potential. Your blueprint represents what solution you have today and what you will build in the future to solve the category problem.
Create Your Point of View
Sharing your category vision with a powerful point of view (POV) is the next step. Your POV frames the category problem, explains the ramifications for not solving the problem, presents your vision for the future, and declares your unique answer to the problem.
Mobilize the Entire Company
One of the most powerful steps in category design is mobilizing the entire company, and in some cases the entire industry, to solve the category problem. Mobilization is the step that unifies every single person in your company around your company, product, and category goals.
Execute Lightning Strikes
Lightning Strikes condition the world to see what you see. Lightning strikes target the cognitive biases of the entire category ecosystem helping you to anchor your agenda, create group-think, drive conformity and commitment to picking your company as the category king. The Lightning Strike playbook aligns every function of your business to work together as a signal unit in a concentrated period of time.
Spin the Flywheel
Your category journey is ongoing and your category flywheel will gain momentum with every lightning strike. This flywheel allows you to expand your category potential, expand the scope of problems you solve, and creates long term unfair competitive advantage.