Step 5: the foundation for
sustainable desirability: the
At the very heart of a strong brand sits the product/service package. This is what the customer is buying. A product, a service or, more and more, a total package. With a new car you get a service package. If a company buys a machine, it comes with installation, training for employees and service guarantee in case something goes wrong.
The origins of branding go back to the need to identify a product, who actually had made the product so that the prospective customer could form an opinion as to the quality. This has not changed. While the intangible benefits of a brand are increasingly important, that does not diminish the need for a strong product/ service package. Even the strongest brand can run into problems if quality is below expectations – as Levi's experienced in the 1970s – or if product development is lagging behind – as Ericsson in recent years has experienced in its competitive struggle with Nokia in the market for mobile phones.
Unless a company gets the product/service package 'right', there is no future for the brand. No matter how clever or appealing a communication strategy may be, if the product or service does not deliver on the promise, the brand has no future. Even though it is true that no one will beat a path to your door just because you have built a better mousetrap – you have to tell the world about it – it is equally true that no one will