Predicting the Future: It’s About the Category

Predicting the Future: It’s About the Category

To build a new brand, you must overcome the logical notion of serving a market. Focus on creating a market. New branding opportunities almost always lie in creating new markets, not pursuing existing markets.

Take Coca-Cola. How did they become a megabrand? In the old days (100-something years ago), the soft-drink market consisted of such beverages as lemonade, root beer, sarsaparilla, ginger ale, orange and grape drinks. Coke became a big brand because it created a new market called cola. Coca-Cola did not just create a new product. They created a whole new category.

What you are about to read may shock you, but here goes: Market size is irrelevant. That’s right—irrelevant. What was the size of the cola market when Coca-Cola was launched? Zero. What was the size of the fast-food hamburger market when McDonald’s opened their first store? Zero.

Sometimes, customers do not know they want something until you give it to them.

Create a new category that you can be first in. Then create a brand so authentic that you can imprint your brand on that category.

• Saran Wrap was the first plastic food wrap.

• Q-tips was the first cotton swab.

• Pampers was the first disposable baby diaper.

• Kleenex was the first pocket tissue.

Get the idea? You have to know how to keep skin in the game.

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