Thanks to BrandAutopsy for the excerpt of Al & Laura Reis’ latest marketing book, The Origin of Brands. Looks like another book for my stack (I've been on a fiction binge, and way behind on my business book reading!). Click over to BrandAutopsy for more detail... my favorite excerpt is:
A new brand is like a new species. A new species does not evolve from an existing species. If the “lion” is a brand, you can’t create a new brand by improving the lion. No matter how much you improve the breed, a lion is still a lion.
New species are created by divergence of an existing species. Somewhere in the distant past, the ancestor of the lion (panthera) diverged and a new species was created called a “leopard.” In the same way, the panthera diverged a number of times creating the jaguar, the tiger and other species. That’s the way nature works.
That’s also the way branding works. If you want to create a powerful new brand, you should look for ways that your product or service can diverge from an existing category. In other words, the best way to build a brand is not by going after an existing category, but by creating a new category you can be first in.