Product is the New Brand.

July 28, 2014 | By: Megan Breinig | 2 min read

product vs brand‘Sell the brand,’ ‘breathe the brand,’ ‘bleed the brand,’ are all-too-common terms used in the marketing field. Recent trends are showing us that it might be time to start paying more attention to the products being sold. The early 2000s bred a ‘live for today’ mentality. Now, it seems consumers are remembering how to live for tomorrow. The relevance of quality and functionality in products is peaking, and consumers are not going to invest in a brand alone. They’re on the lookout for what the product has to offer.

Technology and Online Competition

The rise of technology and Internet shopping has changed the game for brands. Showrooming (Link to Showrooming Article) poses a threat to brick and mortar retailers, and consumers can easily go to a third party website like Google or Amazon to look up product bells and whistles, competitors, and reviews. The brand name isn’t as prominent of a factor anymore when it comes to consumers purchasing the latest tech. Shoppers aren’t buying a plasma screen TV because it was made by Sony. They are distinguishing their budget, shopping around, and getting the most for their money. The decision lies with the product’s quality and coolness factor.

How to beat it: Maintain a good brand reputation, but make sure to leave ample marketing spend for individual products. In the production phase, focus on your product quality and make sure to have a leg up on your competitors. Innovation is always a good place for investment. Consumers are on the prowl looking for the latest and greatest products.

The Bunker Mentality

As consumers shake off the recession, housing collapse, job losses and the general sense that ‘nobody’s safe’, they’ve emerged with something of a bunker mentality – an emphasis on preventing, preparing, saving, hedging and otherwise getting ahead of potential disaster. According to a recent Mintel Report, 52% of Millennials think a lot about their financial future, and 86% of consumers state that product durability is important or very important. The social ‘hype’ of brand appeal has been tossed to the side to make way for more practical purchases. Consumer caution can be manifested as a reluctance to spend. But it can also be illustrated by a desire for products that promise protection.

How to beat it:

So what will people spend on? Products and services that help them 'prepare for the worst.’ In more quotidian terms, that means opting for goods that won't go bad, break down, wear out, or otherwise not live up to every dollar spent. This has raised the appeal of things like all-inclusive package holidays, where the vacationer is guaranteed to stay within budget. Warranties give consumers comfort that brands believe in their own products and have shown a lot of success for sales.

The Takeaway

If your brand is wilting, quality products and innovative marketing may be one of the only remedies for its cure. Consumers want products that give them the most bang for their buck. Before you let it hit the market, make sure your product is something you can endorse.

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