Category disruption: Embrace the new and old
Jun 23, 2023 Laura Garofalo
💥 Disruptors are changing the ways we live, work and spend money:
🤯 They’re not just leading markets; they’re owning mindshare.
💯 Creating a new category or disrupting an existing one is really hard to do, but it’s one of the best ways to build awareness that drives demand.
🎙️Storytelling is the most effective method for opening people up to new ideas, changing old perspectives and building an audience.
📝 Not sure where to start? Our Executive Vice President Megan Link offers five suggestions:
☑️ Embrace the new and old. Sometimes you have to look behind you to know where to go. When it comes to messaging, you must straddle both worlds – use the key terms and phrases people already know and search for while also defining the new narrative. Where do you start? Prioritize your audience and deeply understand their emotional drivers.
☑️ Make comparisons. What else exists in the market? You must lean into analogies to help people understand where you fit. Here’s an example: “We are the Uber of XYZ.” If there are no competitors, reporters often think it’s not worthy of coverage because there isn’t a market. It pays to explain why you’re different from the others, even if they are direct competitors.
☑️ Rely on your evangelists. Employees. Investors. Influencers (including reporters). You need all of them to spread the word and help you educate the market. They also serve as your sounding board. Give them space to provide feedback on what’s resonating and what’s not. In the early days of building a new category, we highly recommend off the record media dinners to foster relationships and get a pulse read on the other players in your market.
☑️ Build your content engine. For a new category to stick, you need to make sure your story – or key message – is being repeated and shared across channels where your audience is. This is how you build brand equity and become the voice/face leading the new category. But don’t just create content for the sake of it – build in time to strategize. We recommend conducting a competitor audit that includes keyword research before you start writing to optimize your results.
☑️ Play the long game. Success won’t happen in 90 days. It takes years to establish a new category. There are ways to measure progress, though. Hearing your evangelists begin to incorporate your messages and differentiators into their vernacular and coverage shows that the work you’re doing is beginning to resonate. Even better, when they start to acknowledge how you differ from what’s already in the market.