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You have probably heard the saying, “Don’t just tell me; show me.” When it comes to selling a product or service, it is best to show your customer how it can meet their needs by giving an example. Telling someone that your product is “the best in the industry” isn’t saying much at all. Anyone can make claims that their widget is the best, fastest, newest, most affordable, etc.

Other than a hands-on product demonstration or a trial run of a service, an application story is one of the best ways to communicate the actual features and benefits. Also known as a case study, these short summaries give your customer or prospect a quick snapshot of your offering’s proven success. It also gives your product a third-party endorsement.

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We all know that a brand is much more than a logo. But I had an experience recently that left me wishing a major global technology company had actually thought about branding INSIDE the box. Our marketing agency had upgraded some computers, and I was part of the team that helped with the rollout. We purchased from the 2 largest computer manufacturers in the world. And when I opened the boxes from Brand A — no names here, to protect the innocent and/or guilty — I was greeted with the following:

  • Carefully trimmed and perfectly fitting dense foam protection
  • A fitted white fabric wrap with adhesive dots, covering the hardware
  • A slim, elegant box for the accessories
  • Each accessory in a fitted fabric sleeve
  • A slim box for software DVDs
  • A brief, nicely designed intro manual on high-quality paper
  • A beautiful startup movie as the hardware was powered up

However, when I opened the boxes from Brand B, I had to struggle with:

  • Ill-fitting, coarse foam that was falling apart and sticking via static to anything and everything
  • Badly folded corrugated cardboard that wasn’t engineered properly to hold anything in it
  • A collection of unmatched disks in paper sleeves sliding around the box
  • Crinkly, loose plastic bags sealed with packing tape
  • Fingerprints on the hardware
  • Ugly giant stickers with bitmapped serial numbers stuck to all of the contents
  • A flimsy manual in ill-fitting shrink wrap
  • Accessories in industrial plastic baggies
  • An ugly bitmapped screen as the computer powered up
  • A typo in the 2nd screen I was asked to read
  • A warning that “Your screen could be blank for one minute”

The kicker? Depending on configuration, the price on these 2 machines could have been within $50 of one another! It wasn’t as though I had purchased a bargain product and a luxury product.

It all came down to how the company valued their brand, and how they valued their user experience with that brand. Which brand carried their brand promise through INSIDE the box? Brand A, of course. Which one failed miserably, and left me expecting to have trouble with the experience (which I did)? Brand B. Of course.

Does your brand stop at your logo? Or your brand positioning? Or your marketing materials? Or does it carry through the entire experience that your customer has with your product or service? Even INSIDE the box?

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About VantagePoint

VantagePoint's integrated approach to b-to-b marketing combines keen insight with bright ideas to strengthen your brand's market impact, no matter what the economy. Let us help you get a fresh perspective.

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