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Chapter 13: Brands, Products, Packaging and Support Services

This chapter introduces the factors surrounding the product offering itself. The product as a bundle of benefits, rather than a bundle of attributes, is covered, and the differences and similarities between physical products and services are also explored. The chapter begins by defining what a product is, then looks at the individualdecisions that make up product management. The section on branding looks at the decision whether to brand or not, and what the possible advantages of branding are: branding strategies are discussed in some detail, including the problems of international branding, and repositioning is touched on. The section on packaging concentrates on the marketing implications of packaging – labelling,differentiation, shelf life and visual impact. Product portfolio decisions and international product decisions are the final areas covered.

Class exercise: Consider a hamburger from McDonald’s, a hamburger from Hard Rock, a hamburger from Tesco, and a hamburger made at home from minced beef. What differences are there in the benefits obtained from each? What is the difference in the price of each? Whataccounts for the differences? Which is best value for money? How do you judge that? Students should be able to discern that the level of service input is what makes the difference between each type of hamburger. Their perception of value for money may be conditioned towards regarding the cheapest as being the best value – in which case the question arises as to why they often buy the moreexpensive option, which is either McDonald’s or Hard Rock.

Essay title: ‘Maintaining quality in services’. Students should be able to outline some of the difficulties involved in maintaining quality in services markets, particularly in restaurants and in personal services such as hairdressing.

Practical project: Visit your local supermarket and examine the packaging of the confectionery. Whatfunctions does the packaging on a chocolate bar have? On a box of Ferrero Rocher? On a box of chocolates? If the season is appropriate, look at the packaging of Easter eggs or Christmas confectionery. What values does the packaging add to the products? Students should be able to show that the packaging protects the contents from the environment and vice versa, that it gives lists of ingredients, thatit promotes the brand and the company, and also that it adds value from an aesthetic viewpoint. Ferrero Rocher boxes are often recycled as storage containers. For Easter eggs and Christmas boxes, the packaging often also adds value by offering games or puzzles, even toys.

Preview Case: L’Oréal: are you worth it?

Sample answers

1. The core product is clean hair. The detergent-in-a-bottlethat is the basic shampoo is the tangible product. The augmented product is the brand image, the added conditioners and the smell.

2. The key decisions are whether to brand as a lifestyle-type product or not, whether to brand as a ‘scientific’ product or whether to brand as a ‘hedonic’ (designed for pleasure) product.

3. The firm would need to take account of different hair types (for example,Chinese hair differs from European hair, as does Afro-Caribbean hair), as well as differing cultural aspirations. For example, cleanliness may rank higher than ‘beauty’ considerations in some cultures, or vice versa. Also, the position of women varies greatly worldwide: the appeal of a lifestyle product such as Charlie would clearly not work everywhere.

Discussing the Issues

1. Thisquestion relies on the definition of the consumer. Assuming the consumer is the student body (which is the conclusion most students would come to anyway) the core benefit is likely to be seen as the degree itself. The tangible benefit is the piece of paper obtained at graduation, and the subsequent well-paid job: the augmented benefit might be the intellectual stimulation, and the opportunity to mix...
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