All About the Product

With the growth of social media over the last few years, more companies are coming to the realization that creating a reputable business that attracts customers is about more than the product. There is now a demand for interaction – consumers want to know who they are dealing with, and they want to be treated as individuals.

That’s not to say, of course, the quality is no longer an issue. It’s just no longer the only issue.

In the past, the greatest issue a company had to deal with was the quality of their product at an affordable price. Businesses had to deliver results, but could be completely impersonal.

This has, perhaps, given rise to the Hollywood representation of bankers, doctors, and so on. We can envision such characters with impersonal stereotypes. Think about how, in Ocean’s Eleven, Brad Pitt impersonated a doctor, and yet, no attention was drawn to him because the profession was not a portrayed as a personal one.

This is no longer the case. A doctor will now find himself being researched on a site such as Rate MDs, similar sites exist for other professions (my latter years of university had courses selected only after vetting the instructors on Rate My Prof). Questions are bounced around cyberspace like a spastic reindeer on an ice rink getting feedback, not always factual, usually opinionated. However, the result of this is that businesses have been learning to address impressions as well as reality.

I recently had occasion to express this thought in a formal setting. One person’s perception must be treated as reality when discussing it with them. As an example, I might assume that Brand X is inferior in quality to Brand B. Whether or not this is true is not really relevant – to convince me to purchase Brand B, you must start by dealing with my own reality.

Being successful as a business is now about so much more than just the product – it’s about the experience of working with the company. It’s about perceptions, and about interactions. The sooner a business figures out this concept, the sooner they’ll be able to understand what it is their potential customers are looking for and provide it to them.