Product Category, Product Range
A brand is expressed through their products and/or services. In very few cases we find a brand with just one product. Diversification and the development of a product portfolio or product range are in most cases a result of brand development over a longer period of time.
From a single successful product an entire range of customer need specific products can grow. Each product related to the other but essentially different in characteristics and product form. This often expresses itself as different performance and price levels, as found in the automotive industry. From the small A1 to large A8 flagship, the portfolio is a smoothly stepped range with each product matching the needs of the corresponding target groups.
The trick is to find the right balance between brand identity and individuality. This design factor is closely related the design language or DNA, which is explained in the design factor 5.
While it can be tempting to build a range of products based on current star products in the market the structure of the portfolio should be considered strategically and not tactically. Most brands do not tolerate rapid and radical fluctuations in the range of products they sell. Enhancements in the portfolio should therefore be approached carefully in the form of "guinea pig products" which can be trialled and if required removed should it be necessary. Should these "guinea pigs" be successful they will in turn be integrated into the product portfolio permanently.
Brand loyalty plays a significant role here. Positive experiences with a product lead to brand loyalty. However customer needs change over time, so it makes sense to plan for this or risk becoming stagnant and outdated.
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