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Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison Paperback – August 24, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“… very strongly recommends this book to business leaders and students of management…” (getAbstract.com, April 2004)
Price, product, and even quality don't cut it anymore when it comes to raising above the competition. So says brand consultant Calloway, who offers an energetic piece on branding, company culture, and customers. He looks at the likes of Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, and lesser knowns such as the Nashville-based Tractor Supply Company to show how they have differentiated themselves by creating their own categories. Calloway advises companies to begin by figuring out who they are and what their corporate culture is like. He continues with a discussion of branding, explaining how customer perception of the company actually creates the brand. He then urges companies to break away from the pack by connecting with customers better than the competition does. Calloway includes ample real-world examples from his clients, and the customer-service experiences he cites from his personal and professional lives ring especially true. With companies scrambling to survive in this dicey economy, the book is apropos for all business collections. —Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Whitewater (Library Journal, August 2003)
In this no-nonsense guide to beating the competition, Calloway, a branding and competitive positioning consultant with clients like BMW and IBM, offers hope to companies confronting a constantly changing and increasingly competitive marketplace. Success, he says, lies in distinguishing yourself from others and forging emotional connections with customers. Before you do anything else, Calloway says, you must answer the question, "Who are You?" unambiguously and with fervor. It your response is vague and uninspiring, Calloway predicts failure, since a lame answer signals lack of vision, focus and commitment, elements he considers essential just to be in the running. An advocate of corporate language that reinforces company identity and motivates employees, Calloway shuns empty slogans and fashionable buzzwords. He snappily makes his point by asking what would have happened if Martin Luther King Jr. had proclaimed, "I Have a Strategic Plan" instead of "I Have a Dream." In no uncertain terms, he asserts companies must pay close attention to each customer and focus marketing on individuals, not abstract demographics. Anyone spacing out while Calloway exhorts innovation and hard work to connect with the customer base in ways that Starbucks, Southwest Airlines and others have will hop to when he has a hypothetical customer ask, "Why should I do business with you?" A company without a compelling answer, Calloway believes, will see the customer go elsewhere. But Calloway emphasizes triumph is possible with disciplined application and provides case studies, interviews and anecdotes illustrating successful approaches for earning customer loyalty and for setting businesses apart in their fields. (Aug.) (Publishers Weekly, June 23, 2003)
[this books is a] "no-nonsense guide to beating the competition." -- Publishers Weekly, June 23, 2003 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Joe makes a very simple point that ends up being one of those "slap your forehead" moments: Do all the corporate-like things, such as have a mission and vision, build an ace culture, walk the talk, etc. but ultimately it is your customer who decides whether you deliver on your brand promise. And that customer is a doozy: intelligent, educated, demanding and able to look through a smoke and mirror tactic in a second.
Speaking of Mirrors...Joe unashamedly plugs his restaurant "Mirror" in Nashville - not because he needs the advertising (although being a bit of a gourmet and a lot of a gourmand, I was about to relocate at the mention of "blue cheese polenta fries") but because the restaurant is a Category of One enterprise. Everybody in that place and all the other case studies Joe talks about have one thing in common: a laser focus on the customer and what she wants - and then delivering it, every time, flawlessly and with a big smile. That customer will come back time and again. Not because you have the best prices - in fact - your products may be significantly more expensive, but because she likes doing business with your people.
Reading Joe's book is like having a conversation with him. I found myself nodding and agreeing out loud (in the privacy of my home, of course). Overall, it re-emphasized the importance of strong leadership, a value system that is constantly talked about, and all employees knowing why they get up in the morning.
Needless to say, but I will anyway: Read it!
First step: Read Joe Calloway's book. Second step: Read it again. Why? You'll be so entranced on the first reading that you'll miss a significant amount of valuable advice. Step Three: Start applying what you've learned from this book. Step Four: Read the book again, going back to all those passages you highlighted. Oh, along the way, better buy copies for all your key people so they can also get the message. [Snicker. After reading this book, you may have difficulty limiting who fits in that vital category of "key people."
Calloway is a management consultant who specializes in branding and competitive positioning. Through his client interactions over the years, and his own personal experiences, he's accumulated a wealth of information and insight. He knows how to be so good that your would-be competitors can't even touch you. In a surprising self-effacing gesture, rarely seen from consultants, Calloway shares in the preface that he's not the expert; he's merely a reporter. I have difficulty believing that he doesn't have expertise, but he sure does a fine job of reporting what winning companies are doing.
Each chapter is filled with advice, anecdotes, and inspiration.Read more ›
The book in clear fashion outlines the easy to grasp ways a company can truly diffentiate themselves from the competition without placing the major focus on product or price.
The author writes in plain, fun, and easy to understand english with many real life examples to illustrate the message. While the book is a quick read, it is packed with very good material. One of the most important business books I have ever read. The book itself is in a Category of One! (Sorry, pun intended).
I read a lot of business books so it is always good to get different perspectives on how to approach growing your business.
I wish it had a little more detail on how to exactly go about implementing some of the things they talk about in the book but overall it was a good read that was well worth the purchase.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book that I continue to return to. The concept of an organization being in a category of one is fascinating and has me evaluating all of the organizations with which I'm... Read morePublished 8 months ago by TRW
...and once again Amazon charges more for the Kindle version than for the paper. Must be really expensive duplicating and pushing all those bits and bytes through the networks!Published 22 months ago by Michael
One of my got co books has and will be continue to be Indispensible. That being said I decided to read Category of One. The book is stimulating and fun to read. Read morePublished on March 12, 2014 by Charles S. Barotz