Category leaders know that technology alone does not change the world. It starts with people embracing and adopting the vision. The best category leaders think about starting a movement. They want to launch <New Category> nation.
The first step in building “the Nation” is getting as many people as possible trained on the product. But the strategy goes much deeper. Category leaders want to seed a new job market for talent. They seek to create new career paths that young professionals can pursue immediately following school or mid-career.
Disruption doesn’t just come from the bottom up. It needs to come from the top down as well. So category leaders ask not just – how can we can we get a lot of people to learn our technology, but how can we create an entirely new function within the organization? How can we get CEOs to fundamentally shift their thinking towards our re-imagined vision of the world so that they re-design the org chart?
- Training Programs – Category leaders try to get as many people enabled on their technology as possible. They do not just target the end-users at their customers, but promote it third party developers and system integrators as well. The more people that invest time to learn the technology, the greater the odds it becomes the application of choice for new projects.
- Professional Certifications – Category leaders want to ensure that their projects are successful. They not only want users, developers, and administrators trained, they want them certified with a high level of quality. The best category leaders establish a level of prestige for their certifications. It becomes a badge of honor on their resume, LinkedIn profile, and email signature.
- Defining New Jobs – Category leaders don’t wait for customers to figure out how to recruit and organize talent. They take a leadership role in writing job descriptions, charting career paths, and advocating organizational changes. Some help their customers with recruiting talent by creating online job portals to match job seekers with open roles.
- University Talent Programs – Category leaders understand that the battle lines in the war for talent are being held at universities. Traditional brick-and-mortar companies are competing with the likes of Wall Street hedge funds and Silicon Valley tech firms for the best and brightest. Category leaders invest in developing talent early, sponsoring university programs and high school scholarships.
- Meetups and User Groups – A critical success factor in launching a new category is to make professionals in new roles feel like they are part of a movement that is making a difference in the world. Think <your brand name> nation. They launch online communities, organize regional meetups, and formalize user groups.
- Annual Conference – The movement amplifies when you can get a large crowd of like-minded professionals together in person. That is why category leaders host an annual multi-day conference. They aspire to create “The Dreamforce” for their sector – the “must attend” show that draws not only their customers, but the whole industry – partners, media, and analysts.
How Category Leaders Redesign the Org Chart