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Having a better brand is better than having a better product

Posted on: November 22nd, 2017 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: Hi Guys, Please introduce yourselves.

Eugene: Hi guys. My name is Eugene. I’m a Creative Director for Gr8an, A Trellis Group Company. I’m an avid consumer of Speculative Fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, with an unhealthy obsession for time management and process optimization. I read, write and design. Nice to meet you.

Adaora M.D: I’m Adaora MD – Creative Industrialist and Dreamterpreter. Undercover Singer/Songwriter/Rapper. Very very undercover. Passionate about People and Purpose.

Akinlabi: Hi, I am Akinlabi Akinbulumo, but you can call me the Phisha. My most prized possession is a hook because with it I am able to fish all that I need and win all whom I need.

Damola: Hello, I’m Damola Adepetun, a project manager, an underground pencil artist whose alter ego is called Darmani. I’m passionate about helping solve problems, especially for people who are looking for direction and purpose. Also avid Manchester United fan.

Dele: Hi, I’m Dele Anjorin. A juggernaut for anything that ignites a happy soul. Wear a smile and you get me!

Valentine: Hi, I am Valentine. You can call me Val for short. A communication expert, an avid people’s person, I like to relate with people’s mind to get the best thought from them. My mind is my most prized asset.

Tomisin: Hello guys. I’m Tomisin…prefer to be spelt as “Tomisyn”. An Art Director for Gr8an, A Trellis Group Company. Low-key painter, Jazz lover. Inspired by little things.

The Octagon: Awesome introductions. We’ve got 52minutes. I’ll be moderating the conversation. However, we will just let it flow naturally. There’s no right or wrong, just opinions. Our topic for today is; “Having a Better Brand is Better than having a Better product.” Discuss.

Valentine: I will liken a brand to a hen and the product as its egg… the quality of the brand is revealed in the kind of product it delivers. If your brand is good it is revealed by the product you deliver.

Adaora M.D: In my opinion, the ideal thing would be to have both. But If I had to choose, I’d pick having a better brand. No doubt the product is super important, in fact it is crucial to the Brand Perception. However, it is not the only variable that determines brand position.

Akinlabi: I totally agree with the statement simply because I have come to learn that people buy into extensions of themselves. They buy into or buy things that better enhance their personal stories and journeys. This means that your promise is defined first and that any product you develop only ensures that you keep that promise.

Damola: I’m going to go a bit left and pick having the better product over a better brand. The reasoning is that, having the better product ensures you deliver on your brand promise every time.

Eugene: Hmmm. I wouldn’t necessarily say that having a better brand is better than a good product because in the end if the product is subpar it will reflect on the brand, however, a good brand allows you to get away with a less than good product… For a while.

Adaora M.D: What if you have a good product and bad customer service?

Dele: I’d go with having a good brand is better than having a good product. There are different variables here.  Because a fruit is bad doesn’t mean the tree isn’t good.

Adaora M.D: I understand your reasoning. However, let me ask a Question. Is Nike a Better product than Reebok or Adidas?

Akinlabi: I disagree. A good brand will ensure you have a good product. And a good product isn’t about having the best specifications. It is about meeting the people’s needs. It is about understanding who you exist for and what you can develop to help them be themselves more.

Valentine: Some people have promise they intentionally created and some have promise they don’t know they accrued due to poor structure. If a brand seeks to have a good product without the need to build on a proper structure they inevitably create a stigma-like promise.

Tomisin: I think a better brand would stand the test of time but the product might not if it doesn’t reflect the brand promise.

Eugene: I think a lot of people are under the perception that brand translates to product and vice-versa. While a product might be under a brand, a brand is not necessarily limited to its product.

Dele: A product is sure a reflection of the brand promise. But it doesn’t sum up the totality of the brand

Adaora M.D: I think the term “better product” is relative to the perception of the person consuming the product. E.g. We have probably all tasted various types of Chocolates that are amazing, but somehow Cadbury stays top of mind In their market. Same with Coca Cola, they all taste the same really, but Coca Cola has managed to keep majority of the market share.

Akinlabi: True!

Dele: I agree

Damola: Ok let’s assume the customer service isn’t great, for context I’ll use Nigerian eateries for instance, if the good products meets the need of the person, with albeit subpar customer service satisfaction from having a consistently good product can over ride having a great message but having to apologize for products that don’t work most of the time. My case in point is Dominos vs Debonairs. Dominos has a way stronger brand here but Debonairs is just better pizza. People would forget a customer service scuffle for an amazing slice. I’m also assuming the product involves delivery and other components as well as being “better” not just the client facing.

Adaora M.D: Personally, I don’t think Nike has the better product. However, they have a Solid brand and have built a perception in the mind of consumers that they are the better product

Akinlabi: THIS!

Eugene: Better would be a very subjective term with regards products among the brands you’ve mentioned. Who determines what “better” is. Or rather what is the criteria for measuring better?

Adaora M.D: Exactly. It’s all down to perception ala Brand

Eugene: Yeah, that’s what I mean. Subjective.

Dele: Better is relative. So is luxury

Valentine: A brand may not be limited to its product but it shapes the mind of its customers towards it. We must understand that the product is a voice which the brand uses to communicates its promises to its consumers.

Adaora M.D: Valid Point Damola. Very Valid

Akinlabi: This is a great example. But I don’t think that dominos has a stronger brand. What they might have is a stronger Brand presence which comes from their awareness campaigns and locations.

Tomisin: It’s all about what the customer perceives the brand to be, not what the brand says it is.

Damola: However while they have a stronger brand they also have a good product which is at par or not too far off from their competitors. Cases where the disparity between the brand and the product are too wide wouldn’t stand the test of time. Ultimately the product would have to be changed to save the brand. Same with Nike

Adaora M.D: Hahahhaa. Love this. It reminds me of when a Client says, “Your fee is expensive”. A fee that other people pay without blinking.  The fee isn’t expensive, the client just can’t afford it. 2 separate things.

Damola: A case in point was how Nike needed the air Jordan 3 shoes, with Jordan’s performance that night to save the brand. According to the Tinker man anyway.

Tomisin: It’s all about brand presence and promise

Damola: So how do you fulfil the promise without the product or good service at least?

Adaora M.D: Absolutely, but here’s the thing. The reason the company still had any strength in the market post the product failure is because of Their Brand.  Their market knew they would bounce back, or at least expected it.

Damola: Hmm okay so the better brand is a necessary buffer to allow the product to be improved but only a better product is not enough collateral?

Eugene: So basically, the brand is the foundation. The products and services are the bricks that build the house. If the foundation is solid, even in the worst conditions, the majority of the structure stays intact. And if it doesn’t, you don’t have to start from scratch.

Adaora M.D: THIS! Awesome Analogy. I most definitely think Product is super important. Saying its unimportant is pretty much saying, Death to Value Creation. And I’m a huge proponent of Value. But I don’t think a Product can be successful in isolation of the brand. As Akinlabi said, People definitely buy into people.

Eugene: I’m thinking the same thing.

Adaora M.D: You can have 3 people selling the same quality product in the market, eg. Tomato Sellers. But you’ll always go to your “Customer” because they are doing something different. Even though they’re all selling the same Tomatoes o.

Damola: Haha this is where you have a strong point. There’s brand trust even if the others may be better

Dele: “Water” is one of the best brands in the world. It gives life. But that doesn’t mean you drink all. And it still doesn’t negate the fact that it’s acceptable globally.

Tomisin: The perception of a product to a consumer is determined by how the brand has decided to “package” the durability, usage and excellence of the brand product for the consumer to naturally enjoy. If they (the brand) fail in that aspect, it would be difficult to prove a point meanwhile another competing brand is already there to steal the show with a better perception creation.

Adaora M.D: Ok. Let’s diversify the convo a bit.  Question for you guys. Using the tomato seller scenario I just shared….How do you guys personally pick who you buy from?

Eugene: It’s a tightrope walk!

Damola: What if the product isn’t sorted and the better brand perception loses out

Eugene: Product and service. I might suffer a bad fruit for a friendly seller. Within reason of course

Dele: Trust.

Akinlabi: True

Adaora M.D: How about Price? Would you let your pocket suffer for a brand you trust? E.g. If your customers price is higher than his competitors? Would you still patronize him?

Damola: There’s a strong trust component here but it’s finite. While I trust my electrician, or tomato seller. I have a finite amount of times when I get disappointed I seek better service or product from somewhere else.

Tomisin: Ahhh. Lol. If I’m certain about the product’s durability, surely I will.

Adaora M.D: Disclaimer: I’m using the term Customer here…the Nigerian way o. It’s actually Seller

Damola: Certainly not in all cases – if my relationship can’t sway him to bring his price down and there’s a competitor offering the same level or lower price, I’m switching.

Dele: If the service is top-notch why not.

Valentine: I generally would move towards a cheaper product.

Damola: I’m not the most loyal customer though.

Akinlabi: Relationship!!!!!!!!!

Damola: Isn’t service part of the product? Or are we calling that brand as well.

Akinlabi: I would place delivery….service as part of the brand.

Valentine: I like cheap things sha.

Dele: Lol

Akinlabi: After the first purchase…. we make a connection that I don’t want to lose or change

Eugene: Sometimes, yes. There are products I’d rather have no doubts about regardless of the price.

Adaora M.D: Hmmm. Interesting. Personally, I won’t switch to someone I cannot trust. Would rather stay with someone I trust even if their price increases.

Valentine: But relationship should influence cost, or I think it should.

Adaora M.D: I think that’s where False Economies of scale sets in

Eugene: If you’re limiting it to Tomato sellers. Spar won’t care about your relationship. Well, I guess that’s what loyalty packages are for?

Dele: Sure it is. Which is why I’ll still go with the customer. Brand loyalty can’t be an oversight over time when the brand is stays true to its promise.

The Brand Ambassador / Influencer Dilemma

Posted on: July 25th, 2016 by The Moderator 8 Comments

 

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? Thank you

Bayo: Good Afternoon People. I am Bayo Omishore. I write seldom.

Wale: My name is Wale Adetula (call me Tula). I’m the founder and CEO of thenakedconvos.com (Nigeria’s largest open digital publishing platform).

Toks: Hello people. I’m Ola-tokunbo. I’m a creative and a brand person.

Eddie: I’m Eddie Madaki, publicist and Marketing communications practitioner.  I work with iBlend Services/ EddieMPR IMC.

Eze: Hello all! My name is Ezegozie Eze, brand and content developer, specifically entertainment & lifestyle brands.

Chuka: Hi Everyone. I’m Chuka Obi, ECD at DDB Lagos

Tayo: Hi everyone, my name is Tayo. I work as a digital strategist with Ogilvy One.  I’m the founder of Isten Digital, recruitment and training in digital marketing. Partially into photography

The Octagon: Ground rules for branding are rapidly evolving.   Social media, content marketing, the younger generation, second screening, thought-leadership and the demographic shift are just some of the many things that are pushing brands to think differently. Customers want to identify with a brand they can grow with, that earns their trust and makes them feel valued. As a result, today’s competition among brands to capture the attention and hearts of their audience is really tough and challenging. This has forced so many organisations to adopt certain approaches to engage their market to transact with them. One of this approaches is the use of brand ambassadors and influencers.  Do you think that brand ambassadors truly help these brands and businesses grow , create greater sales and equity? What is wrong with way brands are going about this?

Wale: I don’t think brand ambassadors have helped a lot of the brands that have gone that way here in Nigeria and it’s mostly down to the reason why they made the decision in the first place. You just mentioned how the ground rules of branding/marketing is continuously evolving. Marketing needs to be way more intelligent nowadays and not based on emotions or who the MD of a particular organization likes or doesn’t. However, I think it is important to note that most of the success stories aren’t particularly exceptional cases. Signing on a brand ambassador so you can gain rights to his music (at a cheaper rate) is a no-brainer. And most of the so called success stories fall in this space.

Toks: I think the bitter pill most of us brand people who know, without a doubt, that the brand owners are going about brand ambassador-ship wrong is that it’s actually working for a few of these brands. Where the real issue is is that, a strategy works for company A and companies B, C and D rush to get on that bandwagon, regardless of whether it fits their brand or not.

Tayo: I agree with Toks. I think that brand ambassadors and influencers have their place in marketing. However, it’s the use of these resources that determine how useful they are to the brand. Brands do not really do brand fit. They just randomly pick people. I believe that ambassadors are mostly for awareness while influencers are for conversions.

Toyosi: Marketing has to evolve with the rest of the world and whether we like it or not using celebrities/influencers (real and imagined) is part of that evolution. People now use Instagram comedians eg I am Kanmi that was just mentioned as MCs for their shows because they know they can pull the crowd they want.

Bayo: I’ll speak from the perspective of a consumer who just so happens to have worked with a number of entertainment brands and say No. In the first instance, I question if the brand managers on the side of the product understand their own product enough to find a music brand that sufficiently mirrors their brand. For the sake of synergy. Or perhaps they sacrifice that on the altar of making a quick buck by hiring the guy that can attract the highest number of coins they can take a nice slice off.

Eddie: Bayo, I beg to differ. Most consumers purchases are won on an emotional level and the right influencer actually wins a larger market share for the product owner IF he/she has the ears,eyes and hearts of the target market the client is looking to penetrate. Now unfortunately since its the trend most agencies just pick anyone for personal/sentimental reasons and that’s when such campaigns are not effective. But if Brand influencer to market segment is a perfect fit, the campaign will work. And it’s cost effective and cuts across most media channels making for a much more organic way to connect with consumers

Bayo: That’s idealistic Eddie. What’s happening in reality is different. The question is, are mothers buying Pampers because of Tiwa? Or Pepsi because of Wizkid?

Wale: hahaha… Or are they even buying at all ?

(continued on next page)

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