What Makes a Premium Product or Brand?
I was often asked – what make a product premium and different from the low-cost products. There is no single answer for this, as there are many different ways to develop premium products, and most importantly, the premium-ness is a value perception related to the social-cultural context, as well as the beholder’s education and taste.
The designer’s ability to understand the conscious and sub-conscious consumer values within the context defines the final appeal and perceived value of a product. Premium product or brand is highly dependent on the product quality and craftsmanship, as well as supporting Brand image and story-telling in marketing communication.
Not to mention, the retail experience & service is another critical element to resonate and reinforce the consumer values.
Many companies fail to understand the importance of consistency and holistic brand experiences in developing new premium product or brand, which often narrowly focus on only 1 or 2 elements of the values chains that confuse consumers on the others: inconsistency kills brand!
Product Design gives the Premium Blood
Going back to product design, premiumness are subtle manipulations of social-cultural context relevant elements and craftsmanship quality.
One distinct expectation of premium product and brand is in its perceived quality. Quality in material & finishes, design and production craftsmanship, use of advanced technique and technology etc… these echo the famous saying – “god’s in the details”.
In most case, the detail qualities are more important than the macro appeal when it comes to premium perceptions. That’s what make the differences from authentic premium product vs imitation products which only copied the looks but not the soul!
Brand Amplify the Soul
When we talking about the soul of premium-ness, it is impossible not to mention the prominence of its associated brand. Where product design gives the face, body and blood of premium-ness, the brand amplify the soul.
Brand is a sophisticated business positioning and value strategy that provide a competitive value and differentiation to a specific group of consumers. Brand connects with a consumer at an emotional level with shared attitude, values, lifestyle and, in this case, taste on premium-ness.
It takes two to tango – for better or worse
In short, the product design and brand needs to work in seamless pairs to acheive the best result in building a successful business, or if they don’t, it will confuses the customers and destroy both all together.
Building a successful & premium product and brand is not an easy task, and it require dedication, passion and vision of the business owner to cultivate with consistence & persistence. By successfully doing that, it will reward the business with loyal customers and sustainable long-term growth.