What should brands talk about? Going back to the Think Different Campaign, Steve Jobs called out Nike as the best brand. Nike promotes the category or innovation and not their product- This is one of the laws of branding.

Another good example of a brand that promotes the category and not the product is Slack — Quoting Stewart Butterfield in his article We Don’t Sell Saddles Here – about the innovation at SLACK. He said and I quote:

 “It is not as eye-catching as self-driving cars or implantable chips — it is not basic research-y kind of stuff. But, for organizations that adopt it, there will be a dramatic shift in how time is spent, how communication happens, and how the team’s archives are utilized. There will be changes in how team members relate to one another and, hopefully, significant changes in productivity”.

Slack understood that they are unlikely to be able to sell a group chat system very well as people don’t think they need another group chat system, they focused on the key value propositionand sold organizational transformation, which was a reduction in information and email overload and better-organized teams. That’s a good thing for people to buy into and it is a much better thing for a company to sell in the long run.

In his article, Stewart Butterfield stated that the best possible way to find the product-market fit is to define your own market category, using Lululemon to explain his point, he stated:

“In a very competitive sport apparel market with Nike, Adidas and Under Armour dominating a huge share of the market, Lulumon founded in 1998 had a manifesto of — At lululemon, we’ve made it our vision to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness. When they started, there wasn’t a large market for yoga-specific athletic wear and accessories. They sold yoga like crazy: helping people find yoga studios near their homes, hosting free classes, sponsorships and scholarships, local ambassadors and training, etc. And as a result, they sold just under $1.4 billion worth of yoga-specific athletic wear and accessories in their most recent fiscal year- They achieve this by creating a new market category and promoted the category”

By promoting the category not your product, brands are able to move away from selling, and focus on value exchange, this in return builds trust and a relationship with members of the community and audience. Making the decision to buy your product more natural – Customer hate being sold products but they love to buy.


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