THE most common Strike question

Written by Paul Maher

One of the most common questions we are asked is “How long does it take to build a Category?” The somewhat unsatisfying answer we always give is, “That depends!”. It just does. 

Some categories pop and others slow-burn. But no Category is truly created by accident, it requires plenty of  intent, thought, energy, persistence, and leadership by an executive team. 

Every Strike Plan – creating the moments when a category or its elements are revealed to the world – demands goals, objectives, check-ins and measurement. Ticking these off, means each Strike takes you closer to international dominance. So it was with great pleasure we watched the progress of two clients as they rolled out their Strikes this month.

Enjoy the moment

First up was the delightful and determined team over at Tel Aviv’s Pentera, previously called Pcysys. Pentera’s strike launched their killer new category, Automated Security Validation, or ASV, to the world. Categorical had the great pleasure of crafting their early Point of View  with their exec team, who were a joy to work with because they signed up to the mission from the first moment engaging enthusiastically in the task ahead. 

Pentera’s marketing team then took our initial inputs and Category name, running with it to create an impressive Strike, with an exclusive homespun event and a stirring rallying call from an extraordinary CEO, Amitai Ratzon. Every element of this Strike echoes ASV category’s promise to help under-pressure Cyber professionals to “Stop Simulating and Start Validating”. They even managed to use comedy to hit home this serious point.

Strikes signal investor value

Another company on its way to building a huge category is Copenhagen’s Templafy, which is carving out a huge part of the document creation space for their category, Content Enablement. The Templafy exec team decided to link recent fundraising efforts to their category and this lifted their story into eye-catching articles in top drawer titles like TechCrunch, VentureBeat and

Templafy builds Content Enhancement category

The lesson here is simple. In a world where multi-billion dollar valuations appear to be thrown around like salt, there is a high risk your company’s ability to attract investment could be ‘lost in the noise’. Investors increasingly are looking for teams whose plan places them in a defensible moat, like a Category. So signalling there is a Category Design plan being executed lifts your story from the pack and attracts better valuations. 

Remember, of course, the team delivering on this plan needs to see validation too. It is amazing to see the positive effect of a deliberate and powerful Strike on engineers rushing to build the next generation of products, or the web team struggling to fine tune your online presence. Strike lifts the entire team, readying them for the next challenge. 

The future starts today

So while there is no ‘one-size-fits-all` answer to how fast you can build a Category Design, the distinct, and preferably almost unachievable pace, set by your Strikes, is the fastest way to get there. 

We counsel thinking one or two Strikes ahead, with appropriate fine adjustments of course. This effectively means always working on a Strike, either this one or the next. Master this cadence and then you too, will be unable to answer precisely how long it takes to build Category Design. Your buyers will be the judge. But for the team, the journey is where it counts

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