What is your product? What is your brand?

August 11, 2007 9:25 pm 0 comments

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Disclaimer: I’m writing this in the middle of my break from G&W so excuse me if it is a bit incoherent — hopefully I’ll be back in a week or so

Here’s what you do: Take a large mineral water bottle, put in on a table and sit next to it.

Now stare at it — what do you see?

Do you see a plastic bottle filled with a clear liquid? Or do you see “refreshing healthy water”?

Now load up that technology product you’ve been building for the past year or so. Stare at it — what do you see?

No look again — still dont see it?

There is a distinct difference between a product that someone consumes and the technology that builds the product. Many people nod when I say this to them but they still miss the point with their PR, their brand strategy, their basic business model.

I’ve given examples of this before when talking about Sabzi Waalay teaching hi-tech entrepreneurs.

Here are some straightforward tips that can help you define your products and ultimately the business models that will fuel your technology:

1- Your product isn’t defined by you, so stop trying.

Your product isn’t what YOU see when you see YOUR technology, its what your customers see. If your customers see a plastic bottle but think “pure refreshing healthy water”, then that is what you’re charging them for.

If your customers look at your P2P middlware system and think “great middleware system” then… wait, they’re not going to say that!

2- People are generally selfish — so you will never feel that your product helps you

“What’s in it for me?” People are generally biased to be selfish — they are going to look at everything around them with personal gain or personal interest.

When your customers are defining your product, then, they will only consider it a product if it stands to benefit them.

Simple, right? Too bad its so hard to remember and think about this when the product is being designed.

It is too bad that most people build products that THEY feel happy about — this is in essence the root of the reason entrepreneurs go in the perfection syndrome.

3- Every Product has an associated value point.

PRICING YOUR PRODUCTS IS EASY!! Wait until a customer looks at your technology, wait until the product is defined, find out how much that person values the product he has defined, and simply charge that same amount!

The only hard part — surprisingly — is estimating the value-point that the customer has identified.

Here’s an idea though — why dont you let the customer also define how much he or she is willing to pay for it? If it meets the minimum you wanted, let them buy it at that!

If you can do that, you will be able to scoop up most of the consumer surplus that exists in your market.

4- Every Customer will define a different product when they look at your technology

One person’s blog is another person’s magazine is another person’s community.

Different products means different value-points, which means if you can figure out a way to let people set their own price for the products, you are more likely to get a larger volume of customers than otherwise.

Ah what does he know — does this even work?

I dont know… dont ask me… there was just a little company called Ebay that let people define their own price points. It seems to have worked for them.

Then another company called Priceline started airline tickets that people bid for… it wasn’t bad either.

As a final note, I find it very funny when people look at Green & White and say “Oh, so you’re a blog”. Sure — that just means you’re not in our target demographic.

The TECHNOLOGY is a blog — the product is … Green & White.

Here is something that will be fun — why dont you guys write out in the comments what you perceive Green & White to be? Is a community? A newspaper? A magazine? The greatest thing to grace Earth? My personal bid to take over the world?

You decide.

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