Have you painted your Ferrari?

by Peter Crocker.

I recently moved to one of those touchy feely fruity phones. Hardly a significant event, until I discovered many thought I’d been sucked in and paid a premium just to carry around a logo. Had I fallen for the marketer and ignored the engineer?

According to people in the know, there are smart phones that deliver a better performance for much less. And I’m sure there are.

The thing is that I didn’t know about them, didn’t care about them, couldn’t tell the difference between them and wasn’t about to spend hours comparing specs and performance statistics.

I just wanted a pocket-sized gadget thingy that combined email, internet, phone, diary and music. And yes, like magpies, I’m attracted to shiny objects.

So what is my point? It’s that seemingly superficial things like branding, packaging, emotional connection, glossy design and sexy bits are absolutely integral to the quality and success of your product. There are millions of technically brilliant products that never capture a market’s imagination, let alone its wallet.

You may have done all the hard work: studied for years to gain your expertise, spent years building a product, or come up with a world-changing business idea. But if you fail to invest in the all-important polish, you can kiss goodbye to the value of all that other stuff. It’s like building a $400,000 Ferrari, but not bothering to do the $8,000 paint job.

The engineer builds the car, the marketer paints it.

In business, this paint job includes things such as logos, web design, writing, business cards, brochures, uniforms, email signatures, phone scripts, proposal documents, advertising, service consistency, follow up, punctuality, pricing, packaging and of course, personal presentation. All things outside the core offering.

Superficial it may be, but we all make purchase decisions, at least in part, based on such influencing factors and will pay a premium for a brand we know and trust.

Perception is reality. In other words people won’t necessarily choose what the engineer determines is the best product, they’ll choose what they think is the best value product, and they can thank the marketer for that.

Ultimately, the product or solution will have to deliver on the marketing promises to succeed, but until it’s been sold it doesn’t get that chance.

What do you think? Is your inner engineer allowing the marketer to add some shine, or have you got too much shine and not enough under the bonnet?
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