What does your product say about your business?

We were in Europe last week for a wonderful vacation, but since brands and products are different in various markets, I found myself experiencing products that I wasn’t familiar with.  Worse, the products themselves often didn’t tell me “what it is” or “what it’s purpose is”.  For example, in London, in our room, there was a wall mounted, white box with various pipes going in and out and a brand name, and several severe warnings.  But nowhere on the box did it say what this box was or was for.  You can see it here – can you tell what it is?  It turns out (after some investigation) that it was a small, on demand water heater.  I admit that I am not used to seeing water heaters in the middle of a room, which is probably why it stumped me at first.

How about this one?  This “tow-behind” industrial item is from a company called Ingersoll-Rand. I’ve given you a couple of views to try and help. Can you tell what it is?  It’s not like there isn’t enough real estate to put the name of the product on the side or back! If you know, add a note in the comments!

These products got me thinking, when someone encounters my product or your product, does the product clearly communicate what it is/does?  Or does the new user have to look up our brand or do some investigation to figure it out? This question applies no matter what your product is.  Software? medical? infrastructure? industrial? electronics?

Why do we make people work so hard?  Because, let’s face it, in a twitter-fueled world, very few people will bother to work hard!

Perhaps we should work harder at making our product extend and enhance our brand rather than assuming people know who we are and what we do.  Do we label our products? (and don’t forget the power supply!) Include a clear description of what the product is?  Include a proper website address right on or in the product (i.e. to the PRODUCT or SUPPORT page, not to our home page).  When we market and describe our product, do we make it clear what it is/does to the person who is “intelligent but uninformed” or do we use jargon and techspeak because we are so disconnected with our customers or potential users?

People encounter our products “out there”, without packaging, marketing or other information.  Let’s make our products speak well of us and our business!
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