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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.

TheOctagonYouthSpeak on the educational system vs the job market

Posted on: November 28th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: Welcome To The Octagon.

We appreciate you taking time out to join this chat session which will end in 1 Hour. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

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?

Femi: I am ‘Femi Akinseye, a 300 level Mass communication student at the University of Lagos. I am a part-time creative writer and voice-over artist. I also doodle in my notebook. I am very passionate about politics.

Beatrice: I am Nwoko Beatrice, a student of Mass Communication, university of Lagos. I am a motivational speaker. I love kids and music.

Afolabi: My name is Afolabi Oluwatosin Oluwabusayo, a student of mass communication, Unilag

Aramide: I am Ayinla Aramide. I’m a 300level student of sociology.

Adeola: I am Adeola Omotoye, a 300 level student of Mass Communication.

Shittu: Good evening everyone. I am Shittu Adedoyin. A student of Philosophy.

Inioluwa:  Hi guys, my name is IniOluwa and I am a passionate person focused on community development and nation building.

The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions. Our topic today is around the Educational System Vs Job Market.

The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is alarming and this is no news to even students still seeking admission into the universities. There is however, the hope that after the four years in school, an individual will get the opportunity to not only be hired but also get paid really well.

There is has also been the discussion that many companies complain about the quality of students finishing from Nigerian schools as they do not meet up with requirements and standards.

Do you believe that the educational system is adequately preparing you for the job market? Give reasons for your response.

Aramide: No. I mean there are courses that are offered in Nigerian Universities, where those who graduated with a degree cannot get a decent job. They usually have to switch courses for a second degree. The educational curriculum has not been reviewed in years, and it’s still breeding clerks and teachers rather than professionals. Undergraduates are not trained according to the needs of the modern Nigerian society, but according to years of repeated schemes of work. Also, the budget allocated towards education is nothing to write home about. Education is the bedrock of society, and it breeds other social institutions. But even the minister of education is clueless about managing the system. The reality is that not everyone needs to go to University. University has been seen as the yardstick for greatness, but I think Polytechnics are even more important – they teach technical and vocational skills that a graduate can use in the work force. Yet, people attend Polytechnics as a last resort to avoid staying at home. The educational system is in Shambles.

Beatrice: I think we need re-orientation. Most students just study to pass. No practicals, no genuine interest in what they’re doing. Most kids are forced to go to school. Not everyone is cut out for Formal Education.

ADEOLA: But we can’t exactly say the educational system is not preparing us because without the knowledge acquired there, we won’t understand the field of study we are pursuing. Then again, the situation of the country is not helping our educational standards because most people don’t use their acquired skills at their jobs

FEMI: It’s no news that well over half the students that graduate from Nigerian universities remain unemployed for a while. While we understand that there are hardly any jobs in the labour market and the government doesn’t really have any clear policy in place to combat that, the real question remains ARE THESE GRADUATE EMPLOYABLE?

The simple answer is no. At least a vast majority aren’t.

Our educational system is structured in such a way that the students right from secondary school are bombarded with information that is most likely irrelevant to their eventual career paths and they aren’t even given adequate orientation concerning the various available university courses to choose from and most importantly what to consider when making a choice.

These students eventually leave secondary schools and proceed to the University without a proper understanding of what they want to study and what they’ll do with what they’ve studied.

After getting the admission, they’re faced with a university curriculum that is archaic and outdated to say the least. They are also taught by lecturers who really have little or no field experience and are not in tune with modern day requirements for success.

It’s hardly possible for anyone to graduate with enough skills required to succeed in this kind of system, hence the unemployability.

ARAMIDE: True talk. I think students need to know that university education is not a do or die affair. If there are quality Fashion schools, Art schools and other vocational colleges, people would complain less about unemployment. Most business schools in Nigeria are only accessible to students who studied Business Admin as their first degree. Nigeria probably has the highest number of Primary and Secondary Schools in West Africa, and yet we have graduates that cannot even articulate their thoughts properly.

ADEOLA: This country’s system of education is lagging behind and this is one of the reasons many of the rich would rather send their students abroad to study and if they study here, they will do their masters abroad. When I start hearing stories and motivational quotes of the world’s greatest people and how they have succeeded without education, I just can’t help but wonder where this education is taking me.

FEMI: Another thing to consider is the amount of time spent in school and how judiciously(or not) the time is used.

A kid who goes to school everyday and learns fine art for only one hour a week out of the Available 30 hours or more, and then returns home to take some extra lessons which deprives him of time to practice design that he may eventually find himself pursuing a career in – Eg. art directing.

How then does such a kid reconcile the lost hours taking irrelevant irrelevant physics classes?

How does he make up for that lost time that his mates probably spent focusing on the arts?

Inioluwa: As a recent graduate, I cannot say that the education I received from the university has made me employable. Apart from a brief internship, I know next to nothing about companies criteria for employment. Education is not the culprit here, but rather management, policies and exposure are the real issue.

Shittu: Well, I do not think the educational system adequately prepares one for the job market. If it does,then every graduate would get employed easily. The educational system in Nigeria is nothing to write home about. We need creativity and ideas not just sitting in a lecture room and studying the same thing over again. For example, philosophers are supposed to be critical thinkers but in the university today, we do not study philosophy, we just study philosophers. After graduation, most students only know about the philosophy of philosophers and do not have their own philosophy.

Imagine this type of student being called for an interview, how would the life of Plato and Aristole get him a job ?

In the end the educational system just teaches us everything about nothing . It is after school we now begin to develop our personal skills which we are not given the opportunity to express in the lecture room.

Aramide: Agreed. There’s also the issue of conformity. In Nigeria, we conform too much. We shy away from speaking english with our accents. Take a look at China – English and other European languages are electives. You study them not because you have to.

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