What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Quality”? The most advanced and expensive products maybe? In my work with the industrial companies leading their global niche markets, this has been the main association of quality until now. It has also been one of the most precious positioning arguments. But it is not enough anymore. It doesn’t win new customers. It doesn’t bring the growth.
Developing markets affect the global competition and the concept of quality. Another big influencer is the digitalization of the world. Traditional concept of quality has become everything else than a differentiator. It has become something taken for granted. And at the same time something not pre-definable.
Good Enough Quality
I had a privilege to talk with Mr. Alf Rehn, when making the Concrete Issues, the customer magazine of Elematic. One of the main findings of the interview was, that Good Enough has broken the stable nature of of quality. According to Wikipedia, “Good Enough principle” indicates that consumers will use products that are good enough for their requirements, despite the availability of more advanced technology. Or as Mr. Rehn put it: “The ‘good enough’ works right now, but is ready to be replaced tomorrow if a better match is found”.
Good enough world jumps on to your face especially in the new, developing markets, where variety of choices and budgets are endless. And where majority of Western industrial companies have much lower awareness than in the home markets. If you combine these two factors, it is quite easy to see the huge potential of Good Enough market. What does this then actually mean for the industrial brands and companies?
Quality as a changing personal brand connotation
In the good enough world, industrial brands built on the superiority in the technical product quality may not be the most appealing ones. Instead, more emphasis should be put on the changing quality perception of the brand.
In the new, developing markets, there is rarely an established criteria for quality. From the branding point of view this means, that there is no common frame of reference for the concept of quality. This underlines the need for clear positioning in different business phases, good use of social networks and references, and the importance of education, guidance and stakeholder analysis.
Quality as an information and communication experience
The meaning of quality differs at different stages of business. The brand is more and more an information experience, which varies along the customer journey. In the beginning of the journey, the quality brand is a much referred, easily findable and understandable choice. Many times it is an agile market actor as well. In the supplier selection stage, the quality is a synonym for relevance and availability. In after purchase business, proactivity, openness and continuous development may be the main signals of quality.