Products carry meanings with them and project distinctive images. These meanings and images arise out of the many components that make up the product personality.
Components of Product Personality
Â· The core or the basic constituent.
Â· The associated features.
Â· The brand name and logo.
Â· The package and label..
The components that make up the product personality are shown in the above points.
We shall now discuss the components one by one.
The Core or the Basic Constituent
The core or the basic constituent of the product is the first component in its total personality. Let us take Mysore Sandal soap, a luxury bath soap made in India as an example. The fragrance of sandal oil, the oval shape the sandal color, the brand name, the price, the positioning as luxury soap, everything has gone into the product personality build-up. The core component is the soap, the generic constituent, as in the case of any other bath soap. Other components are superimposed on this basic constituent to develop the total personality of Mysore Sandal soap. The first lesson in product management is that the basic product constituent has to be good for the total product personality to be effective. All subsequent steps like differentiation; positioning and innovative selling methods can shine only on a good basic product, a product that possesses quality. No firm can build up a good product personality when the basic product constituent is sub-standard.
A brand is defined as a â€˜name, term, symbol, design, or a combination of them, which is intended to identify the goods and services of one seller and to differentiate them from those of competitors. A trademark is a brand that has been given legal protection, thus ensuring its use exclusively by one seller. Trademark is a legal term, while brand is a marketing term.
In marketing, the brand name is a major selling tool and one of the most important components of the â€˜total personalityâ€™. We are, in fact, living in an age of brands. The intensive brand promotion, undertaken by marketers of various products has made consumers extremely brand-conscious. These days no consumer asks for just toothpaste. He specifically asks for Colgate, or Close-up, or some other brand. No woman asks for bath soap, she wants her brand. Similarly, a woman who wants a steel cupboard may ask for Godrej, without even thinking about several other brands of cupboards that are available. The brand name is the mantle the product puts on. The brand mage, developed through advertising and other promotional measures, creates strong brand awareness and loyalty among consumers. Corporations spend long years, lot of money and effort to build brands. A good brand is an invaluable asset for the owner.
The Package and label
The package is another important component of the total product personality, especially in consumer products. The package performs two essential roles:
1. Giving protection to the product.
2. Adding to its aesthetics and sales appeal.
Traditionally, packaging was intended to protect the productâ€”to prevent deterioration en route, and to facilitate handling at the various points of distribution. In later years, packaging also became a major tool in the promotion of the product. The material of the package, the color, the shape and size of the package, its finish, the labeling on it, the possibilities of reuse etc., came to be utilized in building the total sales appeal of the product. The power of good packaging in prompting on-the-spot purchases is found to be very substantial.
Today, packaging has emerged as a powerful promotional tool in the entire consumer goods scene.
Label is part and parcel of a package. A label provides written information about the product. Labeling helps the buyer to understand the nature of the products, its distinctive features, its composition, its performance etc. There are grade labels and descriptive labels. In grade labeling, product classifications are based on standards of quality. Products are classified into A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 categories based on quality. But, for branded products, mostly descriptive labeling is used, furnishing detailed information about products attributes and qualities. For several products, statutory labeling requirements are laid down and the marketers are bound to follow them.
The total personality of the product is not decided by these elements alone. They make the initial impact on the customer. The remaining 3Ps of the marketing mix namely, the Price, Place (channel) and Promotion are crucial elements deciding the total product personality. The price range, the performance/service guarantees, specialties of the sales channels and the positioning-cum- promotion plank contribute substantially to the end resultâ€”the final product offering. These factors and their role in building the total product offer will be elaborated in the chapters dealing with the respective subjects. Here, it is sufficient to point out that the total product personality is the end result of an astute management of all the four Ps of marketing.