We can’t see the world as static. Conceptual boxes can be helpful as long as we realize we have invented them ourselves to help us understand things. The moment we forget that we can uninvent them, we’re stuck.
There is a tendency to view market categories as a given. We think we’re in the “server hardware” category. Or the fitness club category. Or the E-commerce category. Like Blackberry (Research In Motion) was in the smartphone category and Apple was in the personal computer category. Oops.
Or Starbucks was in the coffee shop category and McDonald’s was in the Fast Food category. If categories tell us which competitors to ignore and which competitors to track, than category thinking is dangerous. You won’t see them coming!
If category thinking limits your imagination about how to expand and grow your brand and business, then category thinking can be deadly (more…)