Friday, June 10, 2016

Category Definition

Choosing the right category definition is not a trivial exercise, despite the casual way in which many marketing professionals approach this. In general, people assume a category definition based on the current product portfolio and common sense. But sometimes common sense is not that sensible.

One can choose to use a category definition for which every advantageous brand position is taken. Or one can choose a category definition that allows for future growth. One can choose a category definition that can breath new life into the brand. Or one can choose a category definition that enables the brand to become a "category of one" brand.

Further, one can choose a category definition that makes sense to consumers or one that consumers find hard to comprehend. One can choose a category definition that provides clear product development direction or one that leaves the product development direction much more wide open.

And one can create a category definition based on product features/content or product use or consumer benefit.

Take the (non-alcoholic) beverage category for example. Following are potential category definitions. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. And each has its closer in competitors and further out competitors.

  • Beverages
  • Bottled water
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Children's drinks
  • Fun drinks for children
  • Soft drinks
  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Colas
  • Un-colas
  • Juice drinks
  • Healthy beverages
  • Hydrating drinks
  • Sparkling ice
  • Energy drinks
  • Electrolyte drinks
  • Sports beverages
  • Live beverages
  • Fruit beverages
  • Flavored waters
  • Sparkling waters
  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt smoothies
  • Coconut water
  • Vitamin-infused drinks
  • Tea
  • Flavored teas
  • Coffee
  • Coffee drinks
  • Flavored coffee drinks
  • Dairy beverages
  • Flavored milk
  • Dairy alternatives
  • Calming drinks
  • Hot drinks
  • Cold drinks
  • Refreshing drinks
  • Snack drinks
  • Mix your own drinks
  • Frozen drinks
  • Chillers
  • Organic drinks
  • GMO-free drinks
  • Flavor-explosion drinks

And the list could go on and on. Next time you are quick to say which category your brand is in, give it a second thought. You might find that a new category definition is all you need to energize your brand and bypass the competition.

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