There are no low interest categories. Only low interest brands.
That’s the main lesson I took away from five years at method. Even in a category as mundane as household cleaning products, you can create a brand with deep emotional connections.
Marketers often limit ourselves by the conventional rules of a particular category. When we first join a brand team, we go through an indoctrination process that dispels our previously held beliefs and teaches us the rules of the category. We learn the insider acronyms, the same consumer insights, the shopper decision trees, the tried-and-true promotion vehicles.
The rules of the category blinder and constrain us. They bias us toward the same-old, same-old. Everyone in the category knows the category rules, so the category evolves into a sea of sameness. Defining a category as low interest is a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Consumers don’t know the category rules. General Mills CMO Mark Addicks once said that the most valuable members of a brand team are the ones who had just joined, because of their fresh eyes. He counseled us to fill in notebooks with our thoughts and observations before we learned anything about the categories we were about to join. Category knowledge can become baggage.
The rules of the consumer trump the rules of the category.
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Genius. So true. Gets me wondering if working as a planner as against a Brand Manager might be more fruitful for a young career.