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Mastering the 'Name Your Product Category' Game by Fernando F. Suarez, Stine Grodal

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Mastering the ‘Name Your Product Category’ Game

If you’re launching an innovative product in a nascent industry, it’s important to understand — and take advantage of — the dynamics through which new product category labels emerge.

Fernando F. Suarez and Stine Grodal

WINTER 2015

Have you ever bought a snurfer? Probably not, although in 1966, the snurfer was advertised as “the greatest word in downhill fun” and described as combining the “thrills of skiing” and the “skills of surfing.” It’s much more likely that you have bought a similar product under a different name — a snowboard — which was the category label introduced in the 1970s by Jake Burton Carpenter. His company, Burton Snowboards, went on to dominate the snowboard industry.

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