Great Al Ries Article: Product vs. Brand

Product_BrandAd Age online has a great article by one of my favorite branding proponents, Al Ries: “Having a Better Brand Is Better Than Having a Better Product.”

When I started at Minolta, we were sort of an “unknown” imported camera brand, even though Minolta had been around since 1928, and many servicemen and women had brought Minolta cameras home from the Korean and Vietnam conflicts (though I brought home a Pentax). But in the early 70’s, Nikon was THE brand that everyone lusted after. And rightfully so as they got there first and had a fully fleshed out and VERY professional system. Slowly, through the late 70’s and into the early 80’s, Minolta built its brand (with strong marketing and sales leadership) until we were a solid number 2 in 35mm camera sales in the US. Then, in 1985, we introduced the Maxxum Camera, at the time, a truly unique product that dealers and photographers really loved, and which almost overnight catapulted Minolta into the Number 1 position in 35mm camera sales. The best part was the “coat tail” effect. The perception of the leadership of the Maxxum cameras led to strongly increased sales of the “lens shutter” (non-interchangeable lens) Minolta cameras. Brand paved the way for rapid acceptance of a startling new product, and the success of that product lead to the success of various other cameras with the Minolta brand. (That was a fun time, and my department had the privilege of producing and touring the Maxxum product introduction show.)

So my comment on Al’s story is that BOTH brand and product are important. A good brand leads to more rapid acceptance of a good product, and good product reinforces and builds a good brand.

Read Al Ries’ article: “Having a Better Brand Is Better Than Having a Better Product” and share your thoughts and experiences in our comments area.


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