“...branding in the absence of category design is bullshit.”
Christopher Lochhead & Heather Clancy
Is category design significantly more effective than branding and brand marketing?
What does marketing success look like right now?
- Creating a magnetic message
- Delivering value
The following is taken from a Christopher Lochhead article titled The Big Brand Lie: How Categories Make Brands & Why Brand Marketers Never Believe It:
“Category Design is the process of moving customers FROM the way the world is TO a new and different way. Categories are about customers, their problems, their opportunities, and their future—which means category marketing is about educating customers on a new and different solution that unlocks transformational outcomes by solving a specific problem.
Branding, on the other hand, is about us. Our name. Our logo. Our team. Our “mission statement.” Which means brand marketing is about screaming, “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!” Whereas category marketing is about evangelizing a different outcome altogether.”
Category design is a proposition. It's a solution.
And in Tony Robbins’ words:
“What business are you in?
In other words, what core benefit do you deliver to your prospective client beyond the category or industry in which you've built your career?”
How do we effectively communicate the value of the product or service?
A unique selling proposition, more commonly referred to as a USP, is the one thing that makes your business better than the competition. It's a specific benefit that makes your business stand out when compared to other businesses in your market.
What is a brand?
A brand is an identity within a perceived space. The space is often owned by the category the business, organisation, product or person operates in.
Identity isn’t always visual. An identity is the connectedness that an individual has with you i.e. foundational values, reputation, experience, taste etc.
Let's differentiate between branding and brand identity design.
Identity design is a logo, a set of fonts and colours, design language, visual templates and systems.
What is Branding?
Branding is the execution of your brand strategy.
A strategy is the phase of work done before the planning stage. It’s a solution that includes a set of objectives, work packages, a timeline and roles and responsibilities.
So, a brand strategist is an individual who works with leadership teams to develop an identity and solution to position them into the right space (category).
Branding is positioning.
The aim of a category is to find a solution.
The aim for branding is to position and create an identity in that space
The aim of marketing is find a voice of the audience that needs that solution and connect them with the brand
To find more about Christopher Lochhead head over to:
Or for more interesting content on category design head over to
Lochhead on Marketing
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Brand Master Flash is Jonny Prest. A brand strategist and director at brand agency Seed. Jonny prides himself on his work ethic, unique approach and sense of humour. He’s passionate about brand strategy, working hard to get into the mindset of his clients and in the shoes of their consumers to find the right solutions and intelligent, fresh ideas for their project or campaign. He blows past the obvious; snubs the cliché and pushes ideas until they are powerful, meaningful and are at the highest standard reachable.
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