I hate quality
Posted by Giles Lury on April 4, 2011
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I hate quality.
I do, I really hate quality.
I don’t think there is a more over-used, under-valued and now meaningless word in marketing. Everything is ‘quality’, from quality soap powder to quality hotels. Even second-hand cars are now all quality second-hand cars. Have you ever met a brand manager who thought their brand wasn’t a quality brand?
Every time I see a chart about a particular product and the brand values section includes the Q word, my heart sinks. Are we so unimaginative that we can’t find a more precise or interesting way to describe the value that our brands offers than resorting to the general catchall of quality?
Being a guarantee of quality was one of the fundamental roles of branding but with the increase in quality generally, and in retailers own brands specifically, it is now just ‘table stakes’ rather than a differentiator.
If as marketers we want to play the ‘quality’ card we have to ask ourselves what sort of quality are we offering – cars with German engineering, clothes with Italian design and flair, holidays that offer a personal tailored service, financial schemes that have consistently outperformed the market, all appeal much more than their plain, old quality alternatives.
Quality is no longer enough. It won’t guarantee you a place on many consumers’ shopping lists.
As Al Ries, and many others have said, in a world of hyper competition, you have to differentiate or die.