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Develop Categories, Create Brands


  • Many years ago, Indians were troubled by the entire breed of mosquitoes. There were many solutions looked at, and tried. These included coils, nets, creams and others. Then came a category developer, which created history. In a pioneering effort, a new category of mosquito repellents was created and the brand Goodknight was born. This brand is still the leader in the category.

  • In another case, internationally the mobile music category was created with the introduction of the Walkman brand. It created a category and is still the leader brand.

  • The Indian market always respects beauty and a key ingredient in the society is fairness. A category was created by the brand launch of Fair and Lovely many decades ago. The brand Fair and Lovely is still a very strong brand and leads from the front.

  • There are many more examples of category development and brand creation which have attained market leadership. Brands like Frooti, Ceasefire and many others have all led the market because they ‘Developed Categories and Created Brands’.

  • How does one go about developing categories and then creating brands which lead to leadership?

  • Well, you must clearly begin with the process of ‘Need Identification’. Identifying the consumer’s needs is the starting point. There was a need for portable music and the Walkman appeared. There was a need to look fair and Fair and Lovely got launched. There was a need of having sound sleep away from the menace of mosquitoes and Goodknight was the saviour.

  • It is important to focus on Need identification by consumer behaviour analysis and by constantly being in touch with consumers.

  • If there is an assessment of consumer needs, it is the best place to start. However if there is no explicit need, but a latent desire, then Need Creation has to be done. It is possible that consumers always felt like communicating while traveling. This was a latent desire. The need creation process brought out the concept of the mobile phone which has now become a way of life. Brands like Nokia, LG, Motorola, Samsung are all fulfilling the need through handsets. And brands like Airtel and BPL Mobile through their cellular services are meeting this newly created need which has spread like wildfire across the length and breadth of this country.

  • Thus, the process could start through Need Identification if the need is explicit or Need Creation if there is a latent desire for a benefit.

  • It is then time to move on to the next step in the process of ‘Developing Categories and building brands’. Once the need has been identified or created, it is important to move ahead with the category development process, as well as the Category Nomenclature process.

  • In the stage of Category development, the clear definition of the category does help. For example in the writing instruments category, a sub- category defined as ‘Gel pens’ gives it a focus to be able to stand out as a distinct category and not to be confused with the overall Writing instrument category which could include felt pens, pencils, fountain pens, metal pens, ball point pens, crayons and many others.

  • Similarly the focus on the category of colour Television sets with remote control is a specific defined category with a clear nomenclature, which does not get confused with Black and white television sets or with other offerings. The process of clearly defining the category with a distinct nomenclature makes it easier to develop categories and build brands.

  • Thereafter, the next step is to move towards brand creation. In this process if a competitive edge can be developed, there are greater chances of success and it helps the brand to enter the mind and heart of the consumer faster.

  • In this brand creation stage, it is important to be specific. Be specific in the form. Is it going to be a liquid or a solid or is it going to be a cream? In services brand creation also, the form would have to be paid attention to. It is important to appreciate that consumers buy tangibles and Intangibles both bundled together as part product and part service. The proportion of the tangible will be higher in a product and the proportion of an Intangible could be higher in a service. However, both are present in a brand offering. Hence it is important to look at the specific form while developing categories and creating brands.

  • Further in the brand creation stage the evolution of the form must also be considered. For example many years ago personalized music was the form when the great Tansen sang and played music. Slowly, the form many centuries later, became the gramophone and records were the craze. This gave way to audio cassettes, then moving to CDs and many other forms. Thus the form must be carefully chosen and it must be with the changing times. This was a tangible example.

  • Forms, also change intangibly. There are times when the mental image or feel factor also undergoes change. Needs of consumers vary, For example a serious category may over a period of time become a casual or fun category as the needs expectations and aspirations of consumers change.

  • Thus in the stage of brand creation the tangible and Intangible form needs to be looked at carefully while developing the market.

  • From here on the actual brand building exercise in terms of L&F (Look and Feel), A&P (Advertising and Promotion) and S&D (Sales and Distribution) could be worked on.

  • Developing categories and then creating brands helps get the first mover advantage and helps to get the market leadership position.

The author is Brand Guru Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy
Pvt. Ltd. Tel: 022 28597700/7701
Fax: 28597699
E-mail: jkapoor@samsika.com
Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd. No Part of this document may be modified, reproduced, stored, deleted or introduced in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (Electronic, Mechanical, Photocopying, Recording or Otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of the document.