Good Grips

shoppers outside its location near [New York City's] Chelsea Market. For example, after watching people struggle with the traditional Pyrex measuring cup, OXO discovered a critical flaw: You can't tell how full it is without lifting it up to eye level. The resulting OXO measuring cups have markings down the inside that can be read from above, big enough to read without glasses.

Interestingly, although OXO offers more than 500 really well-designed products, it doesn't actually do its own designs. Instead, OXOnians focus on the desired end-user experience, and then work with design firms to translate their pie-cutter-in-the-sky notions into eminently usable gadgets.

Thus, product designers should think less about product attributes and technical specifications and more about how customers will use and benefit from the product.

Product design: OXO focuses on the desired end-user experience, and then translates its ideas into eminently usable gadgets.

Brand

A name, term, sign, symbol, design, or a combination of these that identifies the products or services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiates them from those of competitors.

Packaging

The activities of designing and producing the container or wrapper for a product.

Branding

Perhaps the most distinctive skill of professional marketers is their ability to build and manage brands. A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of these, that identifies the maker or seller of a product or service. Consumers view a brand as an important part of a product and branding can add value to a product. Customers attach meanings to brands and develop brand relationships. For example, most consumers would perceive a bottle of Oscar de la Renta perfume as a high-quality, expensive product. But the same perfume in an unmarked bottle would likely be viewed as lower in quality, even if the fragrance was identical.

Branding has become so strong that today hardly anything goes unbranded. Salt is packaged in branded containers, common nuts and bolts are packaged with a distributor's label, and automobile parts—spark plugs, tires, filters—bear brand names that differ from those of the automakers. Even fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and poultry are branded— Sunkist oranges, Fyffes bananas, Horizon Organic milk, and OAO chickens.

Branding helps buyers in many ways. Brand names help consumers identify products that might benefit them. Brands also say something about product quality and consistency— buyers who always buy the same brand know that they will get the same features, benefits, and quality each time they buy. Branding also gives the seller several advantages. The brand name becomes the basis on which a whole story can be built about a product's special qualities. The seller's brand name and trademark provide legal protection for unique product features that otherwise might be copied by competitors. And branding helps the seller to segment markets. For example, Toyota Motor Corporation can offer the major Lexus, Toyota, and Scion brands, each with numerous sub-brands—such as Camry, Prius, Matrix, Yaris, Tundra, Land Cruiser, and others—not just one general product for all consumers.

Building and managing brands are perhaps the marketer's most important tasks. We will discuss branding strategy in more detail later in the chapter.

Packaging

Packaging involves designing and producing the container or wrapper for a product. Traditionally, the primary function of the package was to hold and protect the product. In recent times, however, numerous factors have made packaging an important marketing tool as well. Increased competition and clutter on retail store shelves means that packages must now perform many sales tasks—from attracting attention, to describing the product, to making the sale.

Companies are realizing the power of good packaging to create immediate consumer recognition of a brand. For example, an average supermarket stocks 45,000 items; the average supercenter can carry as many as 150,000 items. The typical shopper passes by some 300 items per minute, and more than 70 percent of all purchase decisions are made in stores. In this highly competitive environment, the package may be the seller's last and best chance to influence buyers. Thus, for many companies, the package itself has become an important promotional medium.11

Poorly designed packages can cause headaches for consumers and lost sales for the company. Consumer Reports even has an award for the most difficult to open packages, fittingly named the "Oyster Awards" (as in trying to pry open a tight-jawed oyster). One recent winner was packaging for the Bratz Sisterz dolls, which contained some 50 packaging restraints, from rubber bands to molded plastic covers. It took one test subject, a seven-year-old girl, eight minutes to free the dolls. Says one reporter, after wrestling with the packaging, the child was "noticeably agitated and breathing heavily," and the dolls "looked as if they'd just returned from a rough night on the town."12

By contrast, innovative packaging can give a company an advantage over competitors and boost sales. Sometimes even seemingly small packaging improvements can make a big difference. AFor example, Heinz revolutionized the 170-year-old condiments industry by inverting the good old ketchup bottle, letting customers quickly squeeze out even the last bit of ketchup. At the same time, it adopted a "refrigerator-door-fit" shape that not only slots into shelves more easily but also has a cap that is simpler for children to open. In the four months following the introduction of the new package, sales jumped 12 percent. What's more, the new package does double duty as a promotional tool. Says a packaging analyst, "When consumers see the Heinz logo on the fridge door every time they open it, it's taking marketing inside homes."13

In recent years, product safety has also become a major packaging concern. We have all learned to deal with hard-to-open "childproof" packaging. And after the rash of product tampering scares during the 1980s, most drug producers and food makers now put their products in tamper-resistant packages. In making packaging decisions, the company also must heed growing environmental concerns. Fortunately, many companies have gone "green" by reducing their packaging and using environmentally responsible packaging materials.

Labeling

Labels range from simple tags attached to products to complex graphics that are part of the package. They perform several functions. At the very least, the label identifies the product or brand, such as the name Fyffes stamped on melons. The label might also describe several things about the product—who made it, where it was made, when it was made, its contents, how it is to be used, and how to use it safely. Finally, the label might help to promote the brand, support its positioning, and connect with customers. For many companies, labels have become an important element in broader marketing campaigns.

For example, A Pepsi recently recrafted the graphics on its soft drink cans as part of a broader effort to give the brand more meaning and social relevance to its youth audience.14

In its quest for a refreshing, more relevant new look, Pepsi created no less than 35 new domestic and international can designs. The first wave of eight new designs—featuring such exotic names as "Emoticons" and "Groovy"—was timed to coincide with the start of Pepsi's broader "More Happy" ad campaign. Additional new cans were then rolled out about every three weeks. Beyond eye-catching artwork, each Pepsi design carried a unique Web address that linked customers to a microsite created specifically for that design. The first microsites, aptly named "This Is the Beginning," allowed users from

Innovative packaging can give a company an advantage over competitors and boost sales. With Heinz's "refrigerator-door-fit" bottle, Heinz ketchup sales jumped 12 percent in the four months following its introduction.
Cluttered Refrigerator Pepsi

Labeling: Pepsi recently recrafted its soft drink cans as part of a broader effort to give the brand more meaning and social relevance to its youth audience.

around the world to gather in real time to collectively design the next Pepsi billboard in [New York City's] Times Square. Additional experiences, such as the music-oriented "Move the Crowd," went live every few weeks in tandem with the can releases, all of which were cataloged at the "Pepsi Can Gallery" Web site. "What we did with the [can designs] and sites is create custom experiences that users discover on their own," said a Pepsi marketing executive. "Every time a consumer buys a Pepsi, they're getting a new experience."

Along with the positives, labeling also raises concerns. There has been a long history of legal concerns about packaging and labels. Numerous government laws have held that false, misleading, or deceptive labels or packages constitute unfair competition. Labels can mislead customers, fail to describe important ingredients, or fail to include needed safety warnings. As a result, many nations regulate labeling. The most prominent in the United States, for example, is the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1966, which set mandatory labeling requirements, encouraged voluntary industry packaging standards, and allowed U.S. agencies to set packaging regulations in specific industries.

Labeling has been affected in recent times by unit pricing (stating the price per unit of standard measure), open dating (stating the expected shelf life of the product), and nutritional labeling (stating the nutritional values in the product). The Nutritional labeling laws require sellers to provide detailed nutritional information on food products. Sellers must ensure that their labels contain all the required information in the countries in which they sell their products.

We ve reshaped our business to reflect what it means to own a personal computer. It should be an experience. An adventure. A bond. With aur unrivaled HP Total Core services, you get expert help lor every stage of your computer's lite. Prom choosing it, fo configuring if, to protecting if, to loning it up — all the way to recycling it. find the services that are right for you.

new ALLSPICES: »FOR HOME »FOB BUSINESS

Product support services: Hewlett-Packard (HP) promises "HP Total Care-expert help for every stage of your computer's life. From choosing it, to configuring it, to protecting it, to tuning it up—all the way to recycling it."

Product Support Services

Customer service is another element of product strategy. A company's offer usually includes some support services, which can be a minor or a major part of the total offering. Later in the chapter, we will discuss services as products in themselves. Here, we discuss services that augment actual products.

The first step is to survey customers periodically to assess the value of current services and to obtain ideas for new ones. For example, Cadillac holds regular focus group interviews with owners and carefully watches complaints that come into its auto dealerships. From this careful monitoring, Cadillac has learned that buyers are very upset by repairs that are not done correctly the first time. GM research indicates that customers who experience good service are five times more likely to repurchase the same brand then those who have had a bad service experience.

Once the company has assessed the quality of various support services to customers, it can take steps to fix problems and add new services that will both delight customers and yield profits to the company. For instance, Cadillac tracks repair data to find out if certain dealerships or even individual technicians are frequently making the same repair mistakes. Then, to promote good first-time repairs, it informs dealers and rewards those that have high customer-service ratings. And to keep customers happier after the sale, Cadillac also offers as a standard feature an early-warning system for mechanical problems, built into the onboard OnStar GPS system.15

Many companies are now using a sophisticated mix of phone, e-mail, fax, Internet, and interactive voice and data technologies to provide support services that were not possible before. AFor example, Hewlett-Packard (HP) offers a complete set of sales and after-sale services. It promises "HP Total Care—expert help for every stage of your computer's life. From choosing it, to configuring it, to protecting it, to tuning it up—all the way to recycling it." Customers can click onto the HP Total Care

We ve reshaped our business to reflect what it means to own a personal computer. It should be an experience. An adventure. A bond. With aur unrivaled HP Total Core services, you get expert help lor every stage of your computer's lite. Prom choosing it, fo configuring if, to protecting if, to loning it up — all the way to recycling it. find the services that are right for you.

new ALLSPICES: »FOR HOME »FOB BUSINESS

Product support services: Hewlett-Packard (HP) promises "HP Total Care-expert help for every stage of your computer's life. From choosing it, to configuring it, to protecting it, to tuning it up—all the way to recycling it."

Product line

A group of products that are closely related because they function in a similar manner, are sold to the same customer groups, are marketed through the same types of outlets, or fall within given price ranges.

Product mix (or product portfolio)

The set of all product lines and items that a particular seller offers for sale.

service portal that offers online resources for HP products and 24/7 tech support, which can be accessed via e-mail, instant online chat, and telephone.16

Salehoo Secrets and Tips

Salehoo Secrets and Tips

As with any web site, SaleHoo has a number of features that will help you in buying products from around the world. Once you have an account on SaleHoo, which only costs a one-time fee, you can establish up to twenty named searches for products. After that, any time those items become available, you’ll be alerted.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment