Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison

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Overview

A revised and updated edition of the bestselling "no-nonsense guide to beating the competition."-Publisher's Weekly

Becoming a Category of One reveals how extraordinary companies do what they do so well and gives you the tools and ideas to help your business emulate their success. Packed with real case studies and personal reflections from successful business leaders, it helps you apply the best practices of the best companies to set yourself ...

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Overview

A revised and updated edition of the bestselling "no-nonsense guide to beating the competition."-Publisher's Weekly

Becoming a Category of One reveals how extraordinary companies do what they do so well and gives you the tools and ideas to help your business emulate their success. Packed with real case studies and personal reflections from successful business leaders, it helps you apply the best practices of the best companies to set yourself apart from your competitors and turn your business into a market leader.

Whether you run a multinational corporation or a two-person start-up company, the lessons you'll find here apply to any business. This Second Edition includes a new chapter on "tie breakers," updated examples of today's category of one companies, and special contributions from business experts, bestselling authors, and CEOs on the future category of one business.

  • Revised and updated to remain relevant to today's market conditions and new innovations
  • A new edition of the bestselling title from the author of Indispensable and Work Like You're Showing Off
  • Today's struggling economy puts even greater importance on the theory and practice of business differentiation
  • This edition includes 20 percent new material; if you liked the original edition, you'll love this new Second Edition
  • Reliable, proven advice that works for businesses of any size in any industry

Now more than ever, you have to differentiate your business from the competition to succeed. Becoming a Category of One gives you the blueprint for building your own extraordinary business.

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Editorial Reviews

Ken Blanchard

"Becoming a Category of One shows what it takes to build a brand on something more than just product. This book inspires us to go for greatness, and to win by using our hearts as well as our minds."
author, The One Minute Manager

Dr. Dorothy Marcic

"If you want to be successful and you want a successful company, read Joe Calloway's book. It's as simple as that. It's the how-to manual that every manager and every employee should be required to read."
Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management, author Respect: Women and Popular Music and Managing with the Wisdom of Love: Uncovering Virtue in People and Organizations

Daniel Burrus

"If you could have everyone in your company read just one business book, this should be it. Becoming a Category of One is very straight talk about how it's everyone's responsibility to help build the brand."
author, Technotrends

Publishers Weekly
In this no-nonsense guide to beating the competition, Calloway, a branding and competitive positioning consultant with clients like BMW and IBM, offers hope to companies confronting a constantly changing and increasingly competitive marketplace. Success, he says, lies in distinguishing yourself from others and forging emotional connections with customers. Before you do anything else, Calloway says, you must answer the question, "Who are you?" unambiguously and with fervor. If your response is vague and uninspiring, Calloway predicts failure, since a lame answer signals lack of vision, focus and commitment, elements he considers essential just to be in the running. An advocate of corporate language that reinforces company identity and motivates employees, Calloway shuns empty slogans and fashionable buzzwords. He snappily makes his point by asking what would have happened if Martin Luther King Jr. had proclaimed, "I Have a Strategic Plan" instead of "I Have a Dream." In no uncertain terms, he asserts companies must pay close attention to each customer and focus marketing on individuals, not abstract demographics. Anyone spacing out while Calloway exhorts innovation and hard work to connect with the customer base in ways that Starbucks, Southwest Airlines and others have will hop to when he has a hypothetical customer ask, "Why should I do business with you?" A company without a compelling answer, Calloway believes, will see the customer go elsewhere. But Calloway emphasizes triumph is possible with disciplined application and provides case studies, interviews and anecdotes illustrating successful approaches for earning customer loyalty and for setting businesses apart in their fields. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Price, product, and even quality don't cut it anymore when it comes to rising above the competition. So says brand consultant Calloway, who offers an energetic piece on branding, company culture, and customers. He looks at the likes of Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, and lesser knowns such as the Nashville-based Tractor Supply Company to show how they have differentiated themselves by creating their own categories. Calloway advises companies to begin by figuring out who they are and what their corporate culture is like. He continues with a discussion of branding, explaining how customer perception of the company actually creates the brand. He then urges companies to break away from the pack by connecting with customers better than the competition does. Calloway includes ample real-world examples from his clients, and the customer-service experiences he cites from his personal and professional lives ring especially true. With companies scrambling to survive in this dicey economy, the book is apropos for all business collections.-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Whitewater Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
What if you could completely eliminate your competition from your customers' consideration - would you do it? Of course, you would. These days, so many companies strive to fit into a niche that they must elbow their way past a mass of competitors to do so. Why strive to be a leader in your category when you can create a different category and be the only one in it?

Such are the lessons to be learned in Becoming a Category of One. By using consultant Joe Calloway's tips and advice, you can avoid being "commoditized" and differentiate yourself and your business from your competitors simply by shifting focus to your customers. Calloway describes real-life examples of companies that have gotten to know their customers very well, and have reaped the benefits of that knowledge in long-term relationships and continuous sales. Armed with proof that true success comes to organizations that can stand alone in their fields, he points out how a little self-discovery can take your business far, and how knowledge of self is critical to creating a successful branding strategy.

Deciding to Go
In the film Apollo 13, Tom Hanks' character, astronaut Jim Lovell, reacts to the U.S. landing on the moon by telling his wife, "From now on, we live in a world where man has walked on the moon. It's not a miracle. We just decided to go."

"Deciding to go" is the first step toward becoming a "Category of One" - making the commitment that creates a new level of success. Unfortunately, it's also the step usually not taken. Most companies never decide to go. They talk a lot about it; they write mission statements and hold meetings, but when it comes down to making that commitment, they back away. Extraordinary companies make very deliberate decisions to go in terms of pursuing greatness; of seeing how far they can go and how successful they can become. Then, in order to sustain that success, they recommit to that decision again and again.

Go Big or Go Home
Most companies never get beyond the talking stages of the decision to go. Even though they think they've committed to doing something different and significant, what they've really done is commit to the discussion of doing something different and significant - they talk a good game, but never make a single play. The decision to go must be followed by immediate and significant action - a clear sign throughout the company that signals there's something big going on, made real by action.

Many companies encounter their first real obstacle at this juncture - informing employees of impending change. They assume - mistakenly - that all employees not only want to be the best, but are also willing to do what it takes in terms of commitment, change and hard work in order to make it happen. This is often a false and, occasionally, dangerous assumption. If the company's leadership is unable to rectify the situation, greatness on any level is virtually impossible - nothing of any substance will take place without the commitment of the employees.

Straight Answers to Tough Questions
Companies must confront themselves with these simple yet very tough questions about their stated goals:

  • Do we really mean this?
  • How far are we willing to go to achieve our goals?
  • What is our organization's tolerance for chaos?
  • Are we willing to let go of everything that works in order to reach our destination?
  • Who are we?
  • What do we stand for?
  • Are we serious about this effort?


There are very serious ramifications involved if your organization is serious about achieving its goals. By answering "Yes," you make the commitment to seeing the effort through. Making the decision to go means you start with an idea and do what must be done to make that vision a reality. Copyright © 2005 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

From the Publisher
“… very strongly recommends this book to business leaders and students of management…” (getAbstract.com, April 2004)

Price, product, and even quality don't cut it anymore when it comes to raising above the competition. So says brand consultant Calloway, who offers an energetic piece on branding, company culture, and customers. He looks at the likes of Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, and lesser knowns such as the Nashville-based Tractor Supply Company to show how they have differentiated themselves by creating their own categories. Calloway advises companies to begin by figuring out who they are and what their corporate culture is like. He continues with a discussion of branding, explaining how customer perception of the company actually creates the brand. He then urges companies to break away from the pack by connecting with customers better than the competition does. Calloway includes ample real-world examples from his clients, and the customer-service experiences he cites from his personal and professional lives ring especially true. With companies scrambling to survive in this dicey economy, the book is apropos for all business collections. —Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Whitewater (Library Journal, August 2003)

In this no-nonsense guide to beating the competition, Calloway, a branding and competitive positioning consultant with clients like BMW and IBM, offers hope to companies confronting a constantly changing and increasingly competitive marketplace. Success, he says, lies in distinguishing yourself from others and forging emotional connections with customers. Before you do anything else, Calloway says, you must answer the question, "Who are You?" unambiguously and with fervor. It your response is vague and uninspiring, Calloway predicts failure, since a lame answer signals lack of vision, focus and commitment, elements he considers essential just to be in the running. An advocate of corporate language that reinforces company identity and motivates employees, Calloway shuns empty slogans and fashionable buzzwords. He snappily makes his point by asking what would have happened if Martin Luther King Jr. had proclaimed, "I Have a Strategic Plan" instead of "I Have a Dream." In no uncertain terms, he asserts companies must pay close attention to each customer and focus marketing on individuals, not abstract demographics. Anyone spacing out while Calloway exhorts innovation and hard work to connect with the customer base in ways that Starbucks, Southwest Airlines and others have will hop to when he has a hypothetical customer ask, "Why should I do business with you?" A company without a compelling answer, Calloway believes, will see the customer go elsewhere. But Calloway emphasizes triumph is possible with disciplined application and provides case studies, interviews and anecdotes illustrating successful approaches for earning customer loyalty and for setting businesses apart in their fields. (Aug.) (Publishers Weekly, June 23, 2003)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470496350
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/24/2009
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 360,936
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Calloway is a consultant on employee engagement and performance whose client list reads like a Who's Who of business—from newspapers in Sweden, hotels in Great Britain, and computer companies in South Africa to world brands like BMW and IBM. He speaks frequently on business trends and has been inducted into the International Speakers Hall of Fame. For more information, visit JoeCalloway.com.

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Table of Contents

Preface.

1. We Just Decided to Go.

2. The Power of a Cause.

3. Success Means You Know What Usedto Work.

4. The Commodity Trap.

5. Your Brand Is Everything.

6. The Three Rules.

7. The New Customer Reality.

8. Tiebreakers.

9. The Heart of a Category of One Performer.

10. The Future of Category of One.

Index.

About the Author.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book was extremely well written and should be read by anyon

    This book was extremely well written and should be read by anyone who is a Level C Executive down to the lay person who strives to become a manager someday.

    Unfortunately managers and CEO's alike continuously fall into the same traps and fail to avoid them. This book will assist you in avoid the most common pitfalls that plague companies in all walks of industry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Good one

    Although not the best of the year, this comes close. Its advice is practical and yet insightful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Trust the Author Trust the Content

    Joe Calloway is a practitioner of his message. I've known him for 20+ years and have seen him apply successfully the advice he is sharing with you. He stands out among our peers as The Guy who distinguishes himself through his actions.
    This book will show you how he thinks and what others have done with the same strategies. Not a research document but a living message that explains in real world examples how you too can become a Category of One.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    Making the decision to go - and buy this book?

    Joe Calloway has made a valiant effort with this book and it certainly drives the point home that to succeed in business now, you have to be prepared to stand out, go against the grain, find your courage, embrace innovation, listen to your customer..and many other solid, if sometimes obvious, business principles. While it's certainly not a boring book, it's not especially captivating - I find Seth Godin's style to be more direct and impactful. His book Purple Cow - published 3 or 4 months before this book, makes many of the same points in an infinitely more entertaining and memorable way. One stand out from this book was the concept of 'making the decision to go' which certainly resonated with me, but Mr Calloway might make a more engaging book if he avoided his self congratulatory stories and resisted the temptation to labor his points.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2004

    Highly Recommended!

    Any CEO would love to run a company that is regarded as truly in a class by itself. After all that¿s about as close to a monopoly as you can get without running afoul of the regulators. Some companies ¿ such as Starbucks, Volkswagen, Southwest Airlines and Apple Computers ¿ do come close to being in a class by themselves. Here, consultant and author Joe Calloway suggests that all ¿Category of One¿ companies share a common trait that explains how they achieved success. More than just a book of theory, this volume also offers practical case studies, information and interviews. Strong on concepts, it needs to provide a bit more guidance about how to push your company into its own category. That said, we very strongly recommends this book to business leaders and students of management who find marketplace excellence a never-ending pursuit.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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