What will your category look like in 5 years time?

Will you recognize how your consumers even think about it?

Where will your brand fit in?

Most importantly, how in an uncertain world can you set the future growth agenda?

We believe that by helping brands define and explore the most likely future scenarios for their category, they will be best placed to plan for an uncertain future.

We’re living in an age of continual disruption. Never has the future been so unclear. Despite what some trendspotters and futurologists may claim, no-one can predict the future with complete certainty. We don’t and won’t make that claim. Instead, we help brands create a Category Growth Agenda.

Category Growth Agenda is a guide to decision making and helps increase a brand’s likelihood of future success. By blending qualitative insight and quantitative forecasting, It provides a single, coherent and compelling view of the future of a category. Having a Category Growth Agenda helps:

  • align internal teams and partners around a unifying vision for the future
  • inform and shape innovation strategy
  • provide a robust basis on which internally business cases for future investment can be built
  • drive engagement and support from the trade and customers

To help create the most realistic Category Growth Agenda we believe brands need to adopt an immersed view of their category to really understand it from multiple perspectives. Looking at a category from different start-points; through the eyes of the consumer, retailers, trends and more, reveals new truths hidden in plain-sight; and helps brands separate the signal from the noise, rather than just focusing on themselves, and their closest competitors.

This allows brands to explore objectively what’s on both the near and far horizons, separate trends from fads, identify the key levers and triggers for change, and ultimately glean new insights about the future likely direction of their category.

Then comes the science bit; assumption-based modelling. Creating an assumption-based model that is built to be flexible and uses category data to model the impact of certain factors on the category at large, adds robustness to initial gut-feel. The model delivers a range of future alternative scenarios, which are informed by the insights gained from the 360-category immersion.

These scenarios are built using existing category data, with current growth rates extrapolated forward, but crucially with an extra layer of nuance. Recognising that current growth rates rarely stay consistently linear, we use carefully crafted assumptions to define alternative growth rates that lead to projections that are ultimately more informed by tomorrow’s reality, not yesterday’s. Understanding how your category may be transformed and reframed, along with identifying the underlying factors that shape an industry are key to our approach.

We have a belief that adopting the category view is an important and increasingly crucial perspective for all brands. In an age of continual disruption, it is more important than ever to look beyond your brand, to the wider challenges facing your category and beyond, or else face being disrupted by a new entrant or trend you never realised would challenge your business.

Over the coming weeks we will be sharing the principles and lessons we’ve learnt from working with a range of clients on their Category Growth Agenda. Stay tuned!

BY ENGINEER Tom Speed

tom.speed@thevalueengineers.com