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My colleague Paddy Barwise, and his co-author and LBS alumnus Sean Meehan, remind us just how important it is to consider the total product-service offering. There is much room to differentiate a brand by being“simply better” at providing the basic category benefits.
Both Dave and Jim’s books take on the topic of total product-service offering as well. They remind us to consider the offering from a customer perspective, and to provide and communicate value on their terms. For example, Jim Stengel’s chapter on Pampers describes how the brand was rejuvenated – tripling sales over 10 years – by not thinking about the product attribute of dryness, but how this leads to better sleep and as a result, baby development.
This is a classic, one more relevant today than ever. It takes brands beyond promising and delivering benefits – which is increasingly difficult to do on functional dimensions in today’s competitive markets – to designing and delivering experiences. This requires an entirely different toolkit for organisations, whether in terms of gaining customer insight or delivering value across multiple touchpoints, to assessing customer satisfaction.
These three books are all about building brands from the inside out, by changing employee behaviour. Without changing your people and organisation – something that Grow and others also touch upon – all the other brand work is for naught. Worse yet, if you raise customer expectations through great insight and communications without improving the delivery of that promise, the whole branding exercise is likely to backfire!
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