Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade – Category Design Momentum

authorIcon By Mike Damphousse
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When I was a kid, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was the highlight of every Thanksgiving morning. It was the same for my kids and now my grandchildren. Unfortunately, the latest news is that the famous giant balloons may not fly this year due to winds. Yet even if that signature element goes missing, the parade will still draw 50 million viewers on TV and 3.5 million along the route. 

That got my category design mind churning.

The book, Play Bigger, co-authored by my partner, Kevin Maney, talks about the concept of “Mobilization and Lightning Strikes.” It’s the culmination of all the hard work that goes into designing a category and then communicating the category strategy to the world. And although a lightning strike is an instant compelling event – a moment, a flash – category mobilization and lightning strikes aren’t just about a moment in time. They are about momentum.

Many entrepreneurs are totally motivated and excited about designing a new category, but after the first strike launching their category in a big way, they end up going back to the day-to-day, losing momentum. 

Macy’s has never forgotten about category momentum. The retailer started the parade almost 100 years ago! It’s a lightning strike that keeps on striking. Macy’s gets television coverage and all sorts of other media, and branding that will never go away. No matter how the internet impacts retail, it’s hard to imagine we’ll ever see an Amazon Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, your families and friends, from the team at Category Design Advisors.

P.S. I also highly recommend Jennifer Johnson’s article on LinkedIn, “A CMO’s guide to sticking the category design landing.” It’s an in depth discussion on the topic.