Eric Hunley - Unstructured Podcast

Christopher Lochhead is a legendary 3X Silicon Valley CMO, author, and podcaster

Unstructured Podcast – Episode 128 – Christopher Lochhead is a legendary three time Silicon Valley CMO, author, and podcaster

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Christopher Lochhead may have started out his early life as a dyslexic paperboy from Montreal with Scottish roots, but where he ended up is really quite different. Lochhead would start his first company at the tender age of 18, after rigorously proving to himself that school wasn't going to be a good fit for him. Yet it was his early mindset and dogged determination that would later lend itself to him becoming a chief marketing officer, for the software juggernaut Mercury Interactive. Christopher is also credited as the founding CMO of the Internet consulting firm Scient and he has also served as the head of marketing at the CRM software firm Vantive. He has furthermore gone on to co-found the marketing consulting firm LOCHHEAD, and has also become an advisor to over 50 venture-backed startups thus far.

Category Design Thinking

The former three-time Silicon Valley public company CMO and entrepreneur is also the co-author of two International bestselling books. Namely “Niche Down: How To Become Legendary By Being Different” (#1 Amazon bestseller) and “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.” Along the way Christopher Lochhead has become a master of category design and he now continues to evangelize the simple fact that categories can be found everywhere! 

He firmly teaches that the category must comes first and then that the brand must come second. According to Lochhead, “category is the human filing system that we have, so we can relate to things and most importantly, value things.” It is a simple idea that has given rise to the field of Category design. It is a business strategy and discipline that helps companies create, develop, and also dominate completely new categories of products and services.

Play Bigger!

He wrote the book, “Play Bigger” with his co-authors Dave Peterson, Al Ramadan, and Kevin Maney. The book illustrates why category creation is an essential design strategy, and the book also includes a step-by-step guide on how to apply design thinking to the business of category creation.

The concepts in the book Play Bigger tie back into how our brains work. Particularly human beings that have cognitive biases as described by the work of Daniel Kahneman. Good category design thinking takes advantage of these natural cognitive biases, such as the choice supportive bias and also group think bias. Here are some of the core concepts that are covered in the book Play Bigger.

  1. Start by discovering and defining a new category problem
  2. Then craft a clear story or point-of-view that can explain and also sell the category idea
  3. Then begin to define your category blueprint
  4. The importance of driving the category strategy across a company's stakeholders (i.e. mobilization)
  5. Finally you will be faced with the task of shaping your customers' thinking (through marketing lightning strikes)

You can also read more about the Brookings report he mentioned during our Unstructured podcast interview below.


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