If you’ve ever taken a marketing course, you’ve likely heard about the “product concept.” However, there may be many who are unaware of what it is and what it entails.
The advertising lexicon is getting broader by the day, and with each passing minute, more words for different concepts are being introduced.
Which brings us to the question: what is the product concept? What does it entail in this day and age?
In this article, we’ll be introducing and familiarizing ourselves with the term itself, some product concept examples, and its different types.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
What is a product concept?
The term “product concept” is synonymous with the concept of the “best product.” In essence, what the product concept introduces is the idea that the best product in the market will inevitably be the most valuable or the preferred product for interested consumers.
The product concept introduces the idea that people will prefer the product that has relatively better quality, performance, and features.
The best product in the market will be the people’s favorite.
How does this work?
We all know developing a product is an intricate and profoundly complex task. However, for your customer, your product is a concrete concept which can be spoken about in a few words.
Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Take as an example, Nutella, which sells a jar of chocolatey goodness every 2.5 seconds. It dominates the worldwide market for chocolate spreads (except in Israel), and has cemented itself as the best product in the chocolate spread market. Now that’s brand strength!
What sets Nutella apart from the other brands that are out there? Well, one of the big things that sets it apart is it’s quality and taste value. Its product concept in the chocolate spread industry is strong, and Nutella dominates due to its production value and quality.
We’re all familiar with that half-eaten apple logo. It’s behind so many laptops, phones, and tons of other products.
Apple is one of the most popular IT manufacturers in the world today, and possibly the best. Their products, despite their high price point, have become synonymous with innovation and quality. They also serve as a classic status symbol in many parts of the world.
The strong customer pull for Apple is what strengthens it as a top-notch manufacturer. They’re usually perceived as “the superior brand,” due to the amount of work they put into maintaining a high product concept.
But where there’s talk of “one brand to rule them all,” there’s also speculation about how it produces a market monopoly over a particular product.
A Market Myopia
Chances are you’ve probably heard about Netflix. It has been one of the leading streaming services for a long time, rivaled by other streaming services like Hulu, HBO, and Amazon Prime. While there is a healthy competition in the market, the big problem is this; the streaming service market does not provide room for innovation.
Instead of adding unique, exciting features to the platforms, streaming services mostly monopolize TV shows and movies to be streamed only on their platform. Instead of catering to audience needs and giving them features unparalleled in other services, the streaming market has become more of a marketing myopia.
It’s far more centered around competing for popular TV shows to be exclusively on their platform than introducing fresh and innovative new tech.
One of the few recent exceptions to this has been Netflix’s Bandersnatch, an interactive Black Mirror episode. The viewer can choose what the protagonist does, and thus, have it influence the ending (of which there are multiple).
The point is that it isn’t quite always easy to have the leading product concept.
Even in a market with relatively limited options, the tactics and features that lead you to have the best product in the market vary. Sometimes, they may have less to do with quality than what you have to offer.
To gain a better understanding of what we mean, you should know more about the common elements of product concepts.
The common traits of product concepts
Functionality and Performance
How well does a particular product work?
If you have an e-commerce website you want people to order from, how soon does it deliver? What’s the page load time? Does it get the job done?
This aspect is geared toward efficiency and solving customer problems.
Does the product save people’s time?
Does it make things easier and more accessible?
If you’re using an app on your laptop, is it as accessible on your phone? These are some questions which lead people to develop higher regard for certain product concepts, and thus, prefer that over other brands.
This is more about the customer’s experience while they use the product; the look and feel of the product itself, as well as the user interface. These are aspects mainly responsible for product differentiation.
Some products are geared toward a particular activity or lifestyle.
Just because a brand produces sneakers does not make it a sports brand; it could be an outdoor activity brand instead, for hiking or trekking.
Some brands gear themselves toward a specific demographic. The products they release reflect the product concept.
This one’s pretty obvious; quality is synonymous with durability.
If you’re selling bags, what’s the leather quality? Is the fabric any good? Are there seams coming undone? Does it look good?
If you’re selling food, does it taste good? What sets it apart from other food vendors? What’s the quality of the ingredients being used?
This aspect has less to do with functionality and more to do with the actual qualities of the product, and how these qualities hold up in the competitive market.
When you buy a product, you’re also paying for the brand name. Luxury, high-end brands like Gucci or Chanel aren’t just charging you for the product; they’re also charging for the brand.
We discussed this briefly with Apple in our previous product concept example, and how it’s considered a status symbol (particularly the latest models).
Is your product safe to use?
Is it FDA approved?
Does it contain the safe, prescribed amount of chemicals?
All these questions contribute to the risk value of your product.
What could the consumer potentially lose or sacrifice while using your product?
These are the words that come to mind when consumers try talking about the price points of different products. The price point is another crucial factor that defines the product concept.
Quality of Life
Is the product positively impacting the customer’s life by satisfying their demands?
Consider a de-caffeinated energy drink for consumers on a diet or taking medication that does not allow them to consume caffeine. Essentially, access to such a product would enable them to experience a product that fulfills their demands.
This reliance on a product to maintain the quality of life contributes to a high, positive product concept.
Veganism, environment-friendly, ethically sourced; these are the few buzzwords going around in 2019 that reflect contemporary values for a loud, outspoken group of environmentalist consumers.
The values incorporated in a brand reflect the product value.
Consider this as a product value example; Lush UK is a cosmetic brand that stresses upon its vegan, natural, and environmentally friendly products, content, and policies. Not only does this serve as a compelling USP, but it also contributes toward its high product concept in the market.
Certain brands market themselves as being related to or exemplifying a culture, sub-culture, or super-culture.
As an example, consider fandom culture or university culture (super-cultures). Many brands market themselves as being related to or catering to these cultures.
This refers to the actual experience or sensory registration of a product.
Consider the experience of eating a freshly baked pizza, or the experience of smelling a fragrant lotion, or the way chocolate might melt in your mouth…
This lived experience of interacting with the product contributes to the product concept.
These 12 traits work in tandem, and are responsible for defining the product value of something!
And there you have it!
These are some of the essential, fundamental elements defining the term “product concept.”
Through our product concept examples and traits, we hope you have a better, more holistic understanding of what the term entails.
Did any brands or products come to mind as you read this article?
Make sure you let us know in the comments!
For more information about the latest digital technologies, visit our website!