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November 2008



This is a very nice website and i just came here to look for some baby branding products.However I started spending more time reading your Genius blog.Now I am interested in the technogadgets too.I got lot of ideas in brading my own products.Thank you very much.


Chris Mueller


That is a good point. We have seen many companies shift focus and haveto rebrand themselves. Apple definately being one of the more successful ones.


Gives me a few good ideas about getting myself into the proper category as the top position. Can be accomplished within a certain niche of people. So thanks for the insight and ideas.


Roscoe Conan D'Souza

Hi Laura,
I just wanted to ask you about Apple.....which seems to have moved from the 'computer' category to the 'music player' category to the 'cellphone' category quite successfully. Infact, it has even dropped 'computer' from it's name recently. How would you explain that?


Hi Laura,
I say rollerblading if I think in-line skating, but I'm very likely to not buy any rollerblade rollerblades. In some parts of the world, people say "adidas" to sneakers, generically, even though they wear nike. While I agree that you should define a category (if you can), but that might just not be enough to save your brand.

Aki Kuwabara

Martin's comment brings up an interesting point about how brands should define "categories" that they seek to own. For many consumer products, categories are synonymous with specific products i.e. V8 - vegetable juice. For technology companies, categories should be more loose to avoid the pitfalls that Kodak and Microsoft have fallen into. To give another example, Laura, you have stated before that SONY is one of the companies that have weakened their brands by putting their names on everything: which "category" should SONY have owned to build a strong brand (consumer electronics, perhaps)?


I saw that V8 soup a while back. I drink V8 fairly often, but when I saw that soup, I thought exactly what you said: "Soup is thick; juice is thin," so there's no way I'd buy that soup, even though I love their juice.

Martin Bishop


Aren't Kodak's problems today an argument against leaders owning a category? Making itself synonymous with film has what's made it so difficult for Kodak to reinvent itself as anything else. Much safer to be like Volvo and "own" safety or something less specific.

It seems to me that technology companies, in particular, should make every effort not to tie themsleves down to a specific type of technology otherwise they'll end up in exactly the mess that Kodak is in today.


Hi Laura,

Wonderful blog! I agree in the case of all brands that you mentioned except for Kodak. Kodak became a household name for its film camera , I agree.. yet progressing into digital camera does not really be wrong as the form of a product line extension.. its essentially not so old and stuck brand like "Remington typewriter".. it still has some chances by entering into digital movie camera business using its old fame and loyalty.. but they do have a wider competition to tackle :)

Bruce Colwin

Interesting thought piece, Laura. Particularly the point that a category leader's enemy is not usually it's direct competitors, but competition from other categories (McDonalds' enemy not Burger King, but eating at home.)

On a related thought,this kind of disruption (for lack of a better term) can also help position a brand - pre-empting other direct competitors in the category. For example, McDonalds' going after eating at home, makes it the first alternative in the consumer's mind - whether or not it is actually the leader in that category.

Adam Cohen

I agree with your point and most of your examples, except one. Despite coming to the digital table late and the proliferation of options out there, I believe Kodak owns significant market share in the "soccer mom" category - amateurs seeking easy to use cameras. They have a huge, maybe insurmountable, challenge ahead of them and have stumbled in the past (remember the Kodak Disc camera with a negative the size of a fingernail?). No question film was it in the heyday - even film for Hollywood was a major pat of their business. (Kodak was a client of mine many years ago). It will be interesting to see if they make it and can turn that momentum into something. Any of the Kodak bloggers out there listening? Would love to hear your point of view.
Thanks Laura -

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