Category Creation: How to Build a Brand that Customers, Employees, and Investors Will Love

Category Creation: How to Build a Brand that Customers, Employees, and Investors Will Love


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Lessons from HubSpot, Salesforce, Gainsight and Other Iconic Brands

"The Uber of this"

"The Salesforce of that"

"It's like Instagram, but for…"

There is no such thing as an original idea anymore – right? Actually, it turns out that the world’s most innovative companies have created so much more than just brand new products and technology. They've created entirely new market categories. The challenge is that successfully building new categories requires a perfect storm of luck and timing.

Or does it? Category Creation is the first and only book on the topic written by executives and marketers actively building new categories. It explains how category creation has become the Holy Grail of marketing, and more importantly, how it can be planned and orchestrated. It's not about luck. You can use the same tactics that other category-defining companies have used to delight customers, employees, and investors. There’s no better strategy that results in faster growth and higher valuations for the company on top.

Author Anthony Kennada, former Chief Marketing Officer at Gainsight, explains how he led Gainsight in creating the “customer success” category, and shares success stories from fellow category-creators like Salesforce, HubSpot and others. It requires much more than just having the best product. You have to start and grow a conversation that doesn’t yet exist, positioning a newly discovered problem in addition to your company and product offerings. The book explains the 7 key principles of category creation, including the importance of creating a community of early adopters who will rally around the problem they all share—especially if someone will lead them.

· Identify the “go” and “no go” signals for category creation in your business

· Activate customers and influencers as brand ambassadors

· Grow a community by investing in live events and experiences

· Prove the impact of category creation investments on growth, customer success, and company culture

Written for entrepreneurs, marketers, and executives from startups to large enterprises, Category Creation is the exclusive playbook for building a category defining brand in the modern economy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119611561
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 906,307
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

ANTHONY KENNADA is the founding Chief Marketing Officer at Gainsight. Anthony and his team are credited with having created the Customer Success category—a business imperative, profession, and software category that helps subscription companies grow sustainably by becoming customer obsessed. By focusing on human-first community building, content marketing, live events, and creative activations, Anthony and his team developed a new playbook for B2B marketing that both built the Gainsight brand and fueled the company's growth. Anthony has previously worked at Box, LiveOffice and Symantec, and serves as an investor, advisor, and board member to enterprise software companies around the globe.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

About the Author xv

Part I The Long-Term Greed of Category Creation 1
Lessons from Amazon, Ariba, HubSpot, Qualtrics, SaaStr, Salesforce, and others

Chapter 1 Category Creation: The Noble Marketing Strategy That Can Spark a Movement 3

Chapter 2 Why Brand is at the Heart of Category Creation in the Business-to-Human (B2H) Era 19

Chapter 3 The Six Challenges of Creating a Category (and How to Overcome Them) 31

Chapter 4 Special Considerations for Established Companies in Commoditized Markets 47

Part II Seven Principles to Create (and Dominate) a Category 57
Lessons from DocuSign, Drift, G2, Influitive, Marketo, ServiceNow, and others

Chapter 5 Live Your Purpose, Values, and Culture Out Loud 59

Chapter 6 Focus on the People in Your Market—Not Just Your Products 73

Chapter 7 Create a Lifestyle Brand for Your Category 93

Chapter 8 Grow a Community by Doubling Down on Live Events and Experiences 109

Chapter 9 Activate Customers as Brand Ambassadors 131

Chapter 10 Recognize That Analysts Don’t Create Categories, Customers Do 151

Chapter 11 Establish Trust at Scale Through Authentic Executive Communication 169

Part III Proving the Impact of Category Creation on Customers, Investors, and Employees 179

Chapter 12 How to Connect Category Creation Programs to Growth for Executives and Investors 181

Chapter 13 The Intangible Benefits of Category Creation on Customer and Teammate Success 201

Acknowledgments 213

Index 217

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"It has been a pleasure to partner with Gainsight since its earliest days in driving the creation of Customer Success as a true function in SaaS. Having been a category creator myself, it is a different journey, especially in the first years. The standard 'disruptor' playbook just doesn't work as well. Anthony's incredible tome does just that, for the first time in enterprise software. It gives you the playbook to creating, rather than reinventing, a category.”

— Jason Lemkin, VC & Founder, SaaStr

“Customers create categories—not companies. Category Creation gives entrepreneurs and marketers from companies of all sizes and industries a blueprint for how to engage customers to validate, shape and advance the interests of your market.”

— Jill Rowley, Partner, Stage 2 Capital and Former Chief Growth Officer, Marketo

“In the hierarchy of powers that determines the value of a company, category power is the highest, and if you are the company who creates and leads a new category, that is as good as it gets ever. Category Creation is a game plan for doing just that.”

— Geoffrey Moore, Author, Crossing the Chasm and Zone to Win

“The ability to create a new category is not unique to startups. The largest companies in the world can play their advantages to build new markets and develop leadership positions within them. The tactics that Anthony lays out in Category Creation are just as relevant for today’s Fortune 100 companies as they are for earlier stage businesses.”

— Lori Wright, General Manager – Office, Microsoft

“We’ve reached a new era of software where companies are moving from IT stacks to cloud ecosystems—presenting today’s entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to create net new categories of products that reinvent complex processes of the past with simple solutions for the digital age. Gainsight is a great modern success story for this emerging business strategy—I'm excited to see Anthony share his playbook with the industry."

— Aaron Levie, CEO, Box

“We are in the midst of a digital gold rush, as companies of all sizes are recognizing new market opportunities and creating movements behind those causes for their brands. I’m thrilled to see Anthony put pen to paper to demystify category creation and help other executives follow the lead of market makers like Gainsight and others.”

— Sue Barsamian, Former Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Software

“It always surprises me that category creation isn’t better understood and more enthusiastically embraced by business leaders. I’ve had the privilege of being a part of four great companies—GMF Robotics, Rasna, Ariba and DocuSign—and every time, category creation was a key to our success. Anthony has been a student of this innovative business approach, and in Category Creation, invites other leaders to activate their courage to challenge the status quo.”

— Keith Krach, Chairman & CEO, Ariba and DocuSign

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