They say that perception is reality, and when it comes to having a great brand versus a great product, this adage becomes even more profound.

In marketing, both offline and online, there are two competing schools of thought. In University 1, marketers believe that the product is more critical to a company's success. Students and professors of University 2 diverge, thinking that brand is more important than the product. Here, we're proponents of the University 2 school of thought - that having a great brand is more important than selling superior products.
Why do more people believe that having a great product is the key to a company's success?
Logically, it makes sense that a great product comes before a great brand. The thinking goes that the product comes first, then a great marketing strategy is built around the product to influence perception. If a company has a superior product, then the goal of the marketing department is to communicate the product's unique features and benefits effectively.
It's simple, logical, and intuitive that a company would first develop a superior product and then work on developing a marketing or branding strategy to move the product. But while this may seem accurate on its face, this line of thinking completely ignores a key component of human nature; that perception is reality.
Why is the brand more important than the product?
It's counterintuitive, but having a great brand is more important than having a great product. Why? Because of perception. In reality, there are no "facts," when it comes to which product is better. There are only perceptions that your target customers hold that drive their purchasing decisions. Think about the ongoing feud between Apple and Microsoft supporters or the iPhone versus the Android. It's impossible to pin down which product is factually superior, as opposed to which product the customers perceive as being better.
Also, which is easier? Creating a "better" energy drink than the most famous of all energy drinks, Red Bull, or changing people's perception of Red Bull? Perception is not only the key to creating a "superior" product and building a great brand; perception is also difficult to change. Once someone's perception of a brand is established, it's hard to change it. Unless a great brand does something idiotic, it's nearly impossible to damage a customer's positive perception of a brand.
What do businesses need to create perception and build a great brand?

For businesses, establishing positive perception in their target audience's minds is the way to build a great brand. And a great brand is superior to having a great product. But this isn't binary. Product is also essential to a company's ultimate success; it's just not as important as great branding.

What do you think is more important?




First impressions matter. The way you conduct yourself at the beginning of a relationship sets the tone for the rest of it. What may seem like a small action during the initial, starting phases of a new business relationship can have a massive impact on the final result of the project. The first ninety days are critical to secure your success in any job. 

The Key to Success on Any New Project

Have you ever heard the phrase, "underpromise, and overdeliver?" It's a common saying used throughout a variety of different businesses and industries. It's an excellent strategy to employ within the first ninety days when you take on a new project or client as a service provider.

It's tempting to overpromise on a project. Closing a sale or deal is a tough business, and it's easy for someone to make promises they can't necessarily keep. Telling a new client that you can do everything they want and then some takes little effort - just speaking. But letting your new client know that you can't do something they want takes honesty, and it's a brave move.

In an environment where many salespersons overpromise and are "yes-men/women," honesty is refreshing, valuable currency. Working as an agency or service provider is still a relationship business, and people are more likely to trust service providers who are honest with them at the start of the relationship. Plus, overpromising forces you into a situation that can end up either letting your client down or forcing you to expend precious resources and energy to do more than what's possible with the project.

When you underpromise, you're honest. You're setting the client up for realistic expectations, while also protecting your bottom line and your team members from frustration and possible burnout. Under Promising also makes it easier for you and your team to overdeliver, which clients will love.

However, clients are really the key to making this strategy work so that it can benefit everyone involved. Clients can have unrealistic expectations about what service providers and agencies can do. It's essential that they don't allow "yes-men/women" to bamboozle them with unrealistic promises that are impossible to keep and achieve. The agency partner who outlines the project's results in practical terms, and who is honest about their skills, what those skills can achieve, and when they can meet deadlines is someone worth doing business with. Realistic promises also enable the agency to come in under budget, before a critical deadline, or able to achieve slightly better results for clients than initially thought possible.

For the agency, it's critical that at the beginning of any new relationship, they underpromise and overdeliver to set the tone for one built on trust and honesty. We promise you this.