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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.