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Saturday, 29 September 2018

Product Differentiation

 In developing a new product, it should be subjected to differentiation. Differentiation is the art of designing a set of meaningful differences to distinguish the company's product from competitors product. (Kotler, 2001).
       Differentiation of products takes place along a continuum. At one extreme we find highly standardized products that allow little variation. For example, children still and aspirin. At the other extreme our products capable of high definition, such as cars, buildings, and furniture.
       A company must try to identify the specific ways it can differentiate its products to obtain a competitive advantage. There are so many design parameters which can be used to differentiate goal. Product, the main differentiators are form features, performance quality, conformance quality, durability, reliability, reparability, style and design.
     I will examine each of these differentiators below.

1. Features :Features are characteristics that supplement the products basic functions. Most products can be offered with varying features. Being the first to introduce value new features is one of the most effective ways to compete.
     The starting point of featured appreciation he stripped down, or bare bones, version of the product. The company can create additional versions by adding extra features. For instance, an automobile manufacturer can offer optimal features, such as electric windows, airbags, automatic transmission, and air conditioning. Each feature has a chance of capturing the fancy of additional buyers. Some companies are extremely innovative and adding new features to their product. One of the key factors to the success of Japanese companies is there continuous modification and enhancement of the features in their watches, cameras, automobiles, motorcycles, calculator, VCRs and so on.
       How should a company go about identifying and selecting appropriate new features? One where is for the company to contact recent buyers and ask them a series of questions such as the following : how do you like the product? Any bad feature? Good features? Are there any features that could be added that could improve your satisfaction? How do you feel about each of several features that other consumers suggested?
       The answers to the above questions will provide the company with a long list of potential features. After making up the list of features, the next task is to decide which feature are worth adding. For each potential future the company should calculate customer value vs company cost. The company also needs to consider how many people who want each feature, how long it will take to introduce each feature, whether competitors should easily copy the feature and so on.

2. Form : Many products can be differentiated inform. Form refers to the product size, shape and structure.

3. Style : Style describes the products looks and feel to the buyer. Buyers are normally willing to pay a high price for products that are attractively styled. Some companies have outstanding reputation for styling such as Nissan and Mazda in terms of sports cars and swatch in watches. Style has the advantage of creating product distinctiveness that is difficult to copy.
       When considering start differentiation, we also include packaging as a styling weapon, especially in food products, cosmetics, toiletries and small consumer appliances. The package provides the buyer's first encounter with the product and in this case, it is capable of turning the buyer on or off.

4. Design : One way to satisfy customers and gain a differential advantage is through product design. Designs to the arrangement of elements that collectively form a good or service. Design can also be said to be the totality of features that affect how a product looks and functions in terms of consumer requirements. From the company's point of view, a well designed product would be easy to manufacture and distribute. From the point of view a well-designed product would be pleasant to look at and easy to open, install, use repair and dispose of.
       A distinctive design may be the only feature that significantly differentiate a product. What constitutes excellent design will vary somewhat between industrial consumer goods and from one product type to the next. According to NCR, design excellence includes usability, aesthetics, reliability, functionality innovation and appropriateness. (Pierson 1992).
       For most consumers and industrial goods, ranging from furniture to electronic equipment, design has long been recognised as important.  today design is receiving even greater attention. The design function must be properly located within the organisational structure. In companies that have successful design records, the product designer is part of a team that includes other key functions such as engineering, manufacturing, and marketing. also given the growing importance of design, the director of design often participate in strategic planning and reports directly to top management in many firms.

5. Performance quality :  Performance quality refers to the level at which the products primary characteristics operates. Most products are established initially at one of four performance levels; low, average, high and superior. The manufacturer must design a performance level appropriate to the target and competitors performance level. A company must also decide on how to manage performance quality through time.
Three strategies can be used here :
         The first strategy is where the manufacturer continuously improves the product which often produces them highest return and market share. The second strategy is to maintain product quality at a given level. Many companies leave their quality unaltered after the initial formulation unless serious faults or opportunities occur. The third strategy is to reduce product quality through time. Some companies cut or reduce quality to offset rising cost, hoping the buyers will not notice any difference. Others reduce the quality deliberately in order to increase their current profits though this cause of action of hurts there long run profitability.

6. Conformance quality : Conformance quality refers to the degree to which all the product units are identical and meet the promise target specifications. Buyers normally expect product to have a high performance quality. The problem with low conformance is that the product will fail to deliver to its promises to many buyers who will be disappointed.
        one of the major reasons for the high quality reputation enjoyed by Japanese manufacturers is that their products have high conformance quality. For instance, the automobiles are praised for having good "fit and finish" two attributes for which people gladly pay.

7. Durability : Durability is a means of products expected operating life under natural and or stressful conditions. Durability is a very important product attributes to most buyers. Buyers will generally pay more for products that have more durability. however, this rule is subject to some qualifications. The extra price must be not be excessive. In addition, the product must not be subject to technological excellence, in which case the buyer may not pay more for longer lived products.

8. Reliability : Reliability is a measure of profitability that a product will not malfunction or fail within a specified time period. Buyers normally will pay a higher price for products with more reliability. This is because buyers want to avoid the high cost of product breakdown and repair time. Japanese companies have been especially successful in improving the reliability of their products.

9. Reparability :  reparability is a measure of the ease of fixing a product that malfunctions or fails. Buyers prefer product that are easy to repair. Tours, and automobile made with standard parts that are easily replaced has high reparability. Ideal reparability Would exist if users could fix the product themselves with little or no cost or time lost. The buyer might simply remove the defective parts and inserted replacement part. As the next best thing, some products include a diagnostic feature that allows service people to correct a problem over the telephone or advise the user how to correct it.