Episode 32

Branding vs. Category Design

“...branding in the absence of category design is bullshit.”

Niche Down

Christopher Lochhead & Heather Clancy

Is category design significantly more effective than branding and brand marketing?

What does marketing success look like right now?


  • Differentiation
  • Purpose-led
  • Creating a magnetic message

Category design

  • Solution-driven
  • Delivering value
  • Niching

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?”

Source: https://www.inc.com/bill-carmody/tony-robbins-on-acing-the-age-old-question-what-does-your-company-do.html

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


Recommended Books

Play Bigger


Niche Down


Podcast Recommendations

Lochhead on Marketing


Christophe Lochhead

Follow Your different


Please support: like, share, comment, subscribe.

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.

Need brand support in your business? Hire me.

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Music Credits:



Nightingale Lofi

Lofi Beat Mix 23


Big thanks to Jack Freestone (drums) and Lee Spreadbury (synths & keys) for the filthy beats and bass.

About the Podcast

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Brand Master Flash
I talk to interesting people about enlightened brand strategy. It's brand building with a conscience: remodelling brands to leverage skills and resources for the protection of our planet and its people.

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Jonny Prest

I’m Brand Master Flash: I’m a brand strategist on a mission for good. Finding mastery is a continual practice, to stay on the path towards positive change and growth. My channels deliver a podcast, blog and vlog that promote ethical brand building and business transformation.

You want to be better, to do good and make positive change. You need to create a vision and turn it into a clear roadmap. How does the rest of the world see your brand? Does your identity truly represent who you are? If not, you need enlightened brand strategy.

Weekly content includes useful advice in brand strategy, business, creativity, design and marketing. Hear from brand leaders, marketers, creatives, artists and positive influencers who are building communities, pushing boundaries and making a positive impact.