Advertising Your Category

Most advertising is focused on the brand they are trying to sell, but sometimes advertising is equally focused on selling a new category.

The new commercial for the Nissan Leaf, the company’s first all electric vehicle, is one such ad. The majority of this spot is educating the mass market on the need for electric vehicles (and manages to do so in an entertaining and clever way).

While such an approach is often necessary, there are two possible outcomes for your brand.

  1. Get lost in the market: if you focus too much on building up the category, your brand might get lost in the message. While droves of people will rush out to buy their first electric car, they might not be seeking out the Nissan Leaf. In this scenario, you have to hope that a rising tide lifts all boats.
  2. Become the market: if you are able to educate consumers on your category in a way that embeds your brand as the standard of that category then you will likely become the market. This is the big prize for brands. Competitors will still follow suit, but they will be doing it in your shadow. The iPad is a perfect example of this.

To hit the big pay day, brand strategists must ensure that they are making themselves the standard for the category, and not being outshined by the category.

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