Objective 2

Describe the decisions companies make regarding their individual products and services, product lines, and product mixes.

Individual product decisions involve product attributes, branding, packaging, labeling, and product support services. Product attribute decisions involve product quality, features, and style and design. Branding decisions include selecting a brand name and developing a brand strategy. Packaging provides many key benefits, such as protection, economy, convenience, and promotion. Package decisions often include designing labels, which identify, describe, and possibly promote the product. Companies also develop product support services that enhance customer service and satisfaction and safeguard against competitors.

Most companies produce a product line rather than a single product. A product line is a group of products that are related in function, customer-purchase needs, or distribution channels. Line stretching involves extending a line downward, upward, or in both directions to occupy a gap that might otherwise be filled by a competitor. In contrast, line filling involves adding items within the present range of the line. All product lines and items offered to customers by a particular seller make up the product mix. The mix can be described by four dimensions: width, length, depth, and consistency. These dimensions are the tools for developing the company's product strategy.

Discuss branding strategy—the decisions companies make in building and managing their brands.

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