Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category
June 2nd, 2010
Competitive Differentiation – Does Your Product Strategy Have a Halo?
They all develop and launch halo products as a way to differentiate their brands and products from the competition.
What Are Halo Products?
Halo products are specially developed products that feature advanced technology, capability, and are usually produced in limited quantities – typically for consumer markets and customers. Often times, they are used in a product portfolio to showcase market-leading technology, advanced industrial design, enhanced customer experience, or new, advanced capability that is meant to promote the product and brand leadership of the company. They are called “halo” products because the concept is that the “halo” or “aura” of this type of product leadership will convey to the rest of the product line – the product line you are most likely going to buy. In other words, the halo effect is one where the perceived positive features of a particular item extend to a broader brand. Typically, these halo products are very high priced, relative to the rest of the company’s product portfolio.
Examples of halo products include the following:
What Can Halo Products Do for a Company?
For many companies, halo products provide a number of benefits. First, they are products that are so interesting and futuristic; they can generate a lot of positive press and PR. Of course the benefits here are obvious for a company. Second, they showcase technology and capabilities that, while not readily available, may eventually migrate down to the rest of a product portfolio over time as the technology becomes less expensive and more mature. Halo products can also convey exclusivity and status. For example, all my friends may drive a Mercedes SL Series but I have a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. Meaning … I have something special and different than everyone else. Finally, halo products may drive more consumer awareness and preference for your brand. The idea being if you read about or see the halo product (and you like what you see), you are more likely to buy a product from the rest of the company’s product line up.
Should Your Company Launch a Halo Product?
Perhaps it should. Halo products require resources – development, operations, marketing, etc. and funding to create and deploy. Also, a company has to have access to advanced technology, design, performance, etc. to build products that people are going to be interested in and can generate a halo effect. It should be tied to real customer needs and a relevant customer experience. A halo product strategy can be a very beneficial approach for a company, especially when combined with aggressive PR and strategic messaging. For companies that strive to be a premium brand in their industry and want to be seen as a technology leader, a carefully crafted halo strategy can be indispensible in conveying that premium brand image.
There are less expensive ways to create halo products for less money. For example, at HP, our team in Middle East created a gold plated LaserJet printer to celebrate a twenty anniversary for the business. Another example is the use of a limited edition product strategy to deliver a halo-like product. The only barrier here is your imagination and creativity.
Do you have examples of halo products you have seen or created? If so, I would like to hear from you! Please post your comments to my blog.
March 17th, 2010
I came across this article the other day and it reminded me of how great business ideas and strategic messages often get executed in the most unusual ways. Of course, companies are always looking for ways to message and express their brands, vision, and business aspirations in their advertising and strategic messaging to stakeholders like customers and channel partners. That is what world class marketing organizations do communicate the value and attributes of their brands, products, and services. Having sat on the client side, I thought this was a humorous set of messaging gone awry. I just could not imagine approving messages like this with their hidden messages and parodies.
At a keynote address on Monday, Twitter CEO Evan Williams said the aim of his company is this:
“Be a force for good.”
TechCrunch writer Michael Arrington, who reported this quote from the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, said the statement made him cringe.
Any company that’s out for profit cannot claim simply to “be a force for good,” he writes:
… it’s basically impossible to balance a profit motive with a goodness motive. And in fact the nice thing about capitalism is that everyone acting in their own self interest tends to be good for everyone else, too, if appropriate government forces are put in place to stop monopolies, pollution, etc. Being a socialist is a great way to get laid in college but it’s no way to run a society.
With that in mind, here’s our list of the five cheesiest – or otherwise bizarre – tech company mottos, slogans, mission statements and unofficial tags. Can any profit-seeking company claim to be in it for the betterment of humanity? (Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tried until investors stepped in, as NPR explains). And do they have to wear their ideals on their sleeve in such bumper-sticker fashion?
Let us know what you think in the comments section. And, without further ado, here’s the list:
Google: “Don’t be evil.” (”Star Wars,” anyone?)
Apple: “Think different.” (Like the rest of us? Part of an older ad campaign.)
Microsoft: “Your potential. Our passion.” (Well, at least they’re passionate).
Facebook: “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” (A little long-winded for a mission statement, and doesn’t include any money-making goals).
And, of course, Twitter: “Be a force for good.” (See above).
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