Intangible characteristics and emotional associations


The Task is to locate attributes that will make the Product Distinct. The examples provided in this article reveal that the major task involved in differentiating a product is to identify certain product attributes that can attract buyers. The attribute may be real or psychological. It may be centering on the product— its quality, use characteristics, etc., or the image and prestige dimension. The success depends on the way the attributes are built in and communicated. The name of the game is to make the product distinct.

Effective product differentiation requires a thorough understanding of the distinctive attributes of competitors’ products. In addition, it requires a thorough appreciation of the expectations of the buyers and their motives in respect of the product under consideration.

So far, we have seen differentiation built among the various tangible, functional attributes of the product. Now, let us see how differentiation can be built around intangible characteristics and emotional associations.

Dinesh Suitings, for example, is not differentiated on a utility plank. Its differentiation is built around ‘prestige’. In its advertising campaigns, it builds an aura around the brand just by using Sunil Gavaskar as the model. The brand and the prestige of the model are nicely combined in the ads. The punch line reads: ‘Dinesh Suitings…. .

Reid & Taylor: In the same product category of suitings, Reid & Taylor uses the same approach for differentiation, with even more telling effect. Here ‘James Bond’ is the prestigious endorser. The ad message links the prestige of Bond and the brand:

Reid & Taylor … the legend of a cloth….
James Bond…. The legend of a man
Luxury Suitings…. Bond with the best

Ray Ban: Similarly, Ray Ban Sunglasses does not build a differentiation on the functional characteristics of its glass. It projects aesthetics, instead, and claims ‘Ray Ban … for exhilaration!’ It is the lifestyle that is played up.

In this article we come across Advertising Management and more illustrations on differentiation based on intangible characteristics and emotional associations.

Enhancing Value is the Aim; Product Attributes used as the Tool

No firm can build up differentiation around its product offer all of a sudden. A lot of customer / competition analysis and product planning lies at the root of the differentiation task.

Giving Customer the Value He Seeks

We have seen a large spectrum of factors, functional / non-functional, tangible / intangible, around which a product can be differentiated. If we approach the subject from the consumer’s view point, it can be easily discerned that such a wide scope for differentiation arises because of the fact that the consumers expect a wide array of benefits from a product offer. By exploring the nature of these benefits, we can get a better understanding of the process of product differentiation.

The important points that are to be taken into consideration are:

· the value the customer would seek from the offer;
· value given to customer, what attributes the product should have;
· Faring of the competing products in this respect;
· providing the attributes better than the competitors;
· In short, unique attributes to be developed to make the product offer absolutely distinctive and satisfying to the customers;

To sum up, the consumers are governed by certain motives in buying any product and that the buying motives occupy a large spectrum. A marketer, trying to figure out the differentiation theme for his product, has to study the possible buying motives of his customers and figure out to appeal to them.

The aim of differentiation is to enhance the value of the offer to the customer. The marketing man has to identify and assess the customer benefits that are to be incorporated in the product. It is obvious that no product can carry the entire spectrum of benefits. The firm has to decide how far it can accommodate customer’s expectations in its offer. In other words, the firm looks for ‘product gaps’ / ‘satisfaction gaps’ and tries to fill these gaps in its attempt at differentiation.