16: Own a New Category

It's hard to be ahead of the curve. It's usually a long slide down from there, so if you can show trending, and your timing is good, it's OK to bring complimentary competitors to the attention of the world if they highlight and validate your company.

Own a New Category

When a company tells us that they’re the only ones in their space, we cringe. The truth is, it’s very hard to launch alone. Without a suitable frame of reference, you might seem like a loner.

In 1998, the Rocket eBook was introduced as the first electronic book, and therefore representative of a new idea—one untested in the world. That proved to be a challenge for communicating. With just one product on the market, the company seemed too fringe. It wasn’t until an eBook competitor emerged that we were able to have some legitimacy, transition our story to more product-focused messaging and support product availability in time for initial customer sales.

Nearly a decade later, we faced a similar situation with LS9; their process of making oil from bacteria was unique, so we tethered their story to the trending world of synthetic biology and industrial biotechnology. This allowed us to gain relevance and newsworthiness while at the same time retaining specialty in the biofuels market.