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The Iceberg: Why To Create Category, Not Brand?

Category Or Brand

Do we have an answer to the question “Which came first the chicken or the egg?”  No but, today, we have an answer to another question. Tell me, what comes first? The brand or the category? Category>brand>category>brand?

Well, some marketers think that brand comes first and category second. (In fact, the opposite is true). They are in love with their brands and never want to lose them. If any one brand is successful and famous, they want to attach the original brand name to all other brands. To take the benefit of shelf space, instant sales, etc.

All of a sudden, they forget the most important part of the life of the brand: what made them successful in the first place. Do you wanna know the answer? It’s hidden in this cartoon video.

It’s the world’s only marketing cartoon video series, Marketube.

[box type=”yellow”]If you haven’t been to my blog, perhaps you’re missing the “quickest” and the “easiest” way to learn marketing concepts. (Please share this cartoon video with others. Al Ries loved this idea. You will too!)[/box]

[youtube cDwJDrxj-gw 640 390]

Cartoon: Why To Create Category, Not Brand? The Category-Brand Iceberg

Video Script:

Eric: Consumers buy categories, not brands. They don’t love your brand, they are ,actually, in love with your category,

Kimberly: What? You’re a marketing expert, and you’re saying that, brands aren’t that important?

Eric: Yes, consumers love categories, but they refer to these categories by brand names, To avoid confusion, they ask simply what category, exactly, they would like to have.

If you want to get into consumer’s mind, you have to launch the brand, via, creating a new category, in the mind of consumer, by being first.

For example, there was no brand in the energy drink. Red Bull created the energy drink category, by being first to the mind of consumer. Today, it’s a leading brand

Yet, some marketers think the opposite. They want to get into consumer’s mind, by creating brand, not category.

While, the right way to get into consumer’s mind is by creating category, not brand.

Category-Brand Iceberg:

Brand and Category are directly related to each other. For example, think of an iceberg, and tip of an iceberg, the category, is an iceberg, while the brand is a tip of an iceberg.

Here’s the rule of thumb: how big and how deep the iceberg is, will determine how valuable the brand is.

Now, tell me, what happens when the iceberg melts?

Kimberly: The tip of an iceberg also melts!

Eric: Correct! Same goes here, when category melts, brand also melts. That’s why create a valuable category first, to create a valuable brand

No marketers on earth should save the brand, if its category is dying

According to Interbrand, In 1993, brand equity of Marlboro was 47 billion in dollar. In 2008, it was 21 billion, as smoking iceberg melts; one day Marlboro brand will be worthless

Kimberly: But consumers buy brands, not categories.

Eric: Who told you this?

Kimberly: Who will? A consumer!

Eric: Who is the marketer? You or consumer?

Kimberly: Me, of course!

Eric: Then you have to tell consumers what they buy. Consumers are so confused.  To know what consumers buy, you’ve to understand, how consumers make decisions of what they buy. (We’ll talk about it in the next video)


  1. If you want to get into the consumer’s mind, create a new category by being first.
  2. Create a valuable category first, to create a valuable brand.
  3. If you’ve created a successful category, brand success will follow, by effectively applying marketing strategies.
  4. Consumers love categories, but they refer to these categories by brand names. To tell what, exactly, they would like to have.

Did I miss something?  Any suggestions, comments or questions? Let me know in the comments below at the end of the page! I would love to hear from you. I read every single comment!

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