Category King
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It goes without saying that certain big brand names, like Amazon, Facebook or Google, spark a sense of familiarity and trust when you hear them. These companies pointed out a specific but common problem and turned a unique solution into an entire industry. One that they have dominated from the start.

These big-league businesses didn’t become leaders by simply improving upon an existing product or service. They provided completely new ways of living, working, and connecting.

So, as a start-up with a mission to become a household name that people simply cannot live without, how do you compete? Where do you start? Let’s explore everything you need to know about category design.

What is the category design?

The strategy known as category design describes the creation of an entirely new market category. It also entails developing a need or demand that consumers didn’t even know they had and conditioning them to view your brand as the leader of that category.

Category design isn’t about winning the same game everyone is playing. It’s about inventing a new game, making the rules, and setting yourself up to win every time.

This business discipline was presented with the name “category design” to the marketing scene by the authors of the book “Play Bigger” in 2016. The authors explain how it works and how you can benefit from starting your business with category design in mind.

Why should you care about category design?

Since the moment category design was given a name and marketing teams were made conscious of the term, it has quickly changed the landscape of how businesses are started and venture capitalists view and consider investments. Focusing your efforts on category design has several benefits.

You understand the territory better than anyone.

In category design, you make the game, you make the rules and therefore, you win the game. When you build a business within an already existing market space, you’re most likely learning and taking notes from other companies within the same industry. You will always be one step behind your competitors.

By creating your own market category, you work within a niche that is untouched by other businesses. You identify a major problem that is lacking a solution. And before anyone even knows they’re experiencing this problem, you’re prepared with original, desirable ways to fix it.

Category design grants you access to a clear frontier that you can turn into whatever you want. Other businesses won’t be able to compete when they’re second, third, fourth or so on to the scene. You leave people thinking…why didn’t I come up with that?

You gain a loyal and motivated customer base.

Imagine providing a simple but incredibly helpful idea that changes lives forever. An idea like this is bound to conjure up some strong feelings of gratitude and loyalty to your brand. When you dominate a market category and alter the way people live, work, and think, you gain a committed audience that accelerates the growth and awareness of your business.

You’re crowned a ‘category king’.

When you start a business, you have one obvious goal in mind: being successful. As a category king, you can control up to 76% of the industry’s market capitalization. Starting with category design as the driving force behind your plan of action can help you achieve the most success from your business goals.

How to Become a Category King

So how do you implement category design into your business plan and earn the title of category king? In the book “Play Bigger”, the authors focus on six essential factors and steps to take.

Find Your Niche

The process of developing a category design strategy starts with the CEO and leadership teams within a business finding a category. You can think of it as a niche. They must identify the problem and map out the solution.

Think of a missing piece in the puzzle of day to day life. By discovering a part of the industry that could work a little better or feel a little more appealing, you can design a valuable product that people want and need.

Design the Product and An Ecosystem Around It

Once you’ve pinpointed the major problem, you must invent a product that will deliver the solution. And it’s equally as important to develop an environment or ecosystem around the product that generates a need, desire and demand. The developers, suppliers, partners, and customers should work well together within this ecosystem and understand the bigger picture.

Create an Impactful Story

The story surrounding your brand is crucial. You want to provoke feelings of loyalty and gratitude for your brand and you can do so by creating a compelling Point of View (POV) story and image that speaks to the everyday person’s challenges.

The point of view of your brand should be clear and shared with your customers. If you can convince the market to believe your product is the obvious answer to their problems, those believers become loyal customers.

Every aspect of your business should convey the same message about your brand. By aligning your marketing, public relations and advertising efforts, you can strategically portray the story of your product in a way that earns the trust of your customers.

Keep the Momentum

In order to sustain your new market category and continue to grow, it’s important to approach it with a strategy similar to that of an inbound flywheel concept and move forward with velocity and speed. You can build momentum by sustaining a balance between the three following components.

  • The company design
  • The product design
  • The category design

Like the phases of the flywheel, each of the elements above should feed into each other and work together to accelerate your business.


With a clear strategy in mind and a whole lot of courage, you can achieve success and dominate your own market category. Too many businesses fall short of their goals because they enter into a market that is already oversaturated.

If you’re an entrepreneur with big dreams of building a leading business in the world, dream bigger with category design and think like a category king.