Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Categories: Expansion

If you're the leader or first in a category, you should strive to expand it. Rather than try to increase your market share, increase the size of the pie. As the market leader, you generally will benefit
proportionately more than your competitors (especially if you don't have any yet).

As Al Ries and Laura Ries wrote in The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding:
When you're the first, you can preempt the category. You are the only brand associated with the concept. You have a powerful publicity platform. You need to put your branding dollars behind the concept itself, so the concept with take off, pulling the brand with it.

What happens when competition appears, as it inevitably does? Most category leaders just can't wait to shift into brand-building mode. That's a mistake. Leaders should continue to promote the category, to increase the size of the pie rather than their slice of the pie.
Try to create a new category with a product that is so focused it has no share in a pre-existing market. Then market the category so that your product benefits.

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