You are a brand that is here to build a good identity, be trustworthy, have a loyal consumer base, and at the end of the day, fund your operations.
In doing so, however, what or who should be your focus?
What should you produce or for whom?
In deciding whether you should grow a company that chooses to come up with products that your potential purchasers have never seen before or innovate on something in-demand, several factors need to be taken into consideration.
Before getting to what to focus on, let us first see what consumer and product centricity imply.
What is a Consumer-Centric Brand?
A consumer-centric brand focuses on and develops its products, services, features, policies, marketing, etc. on the consumer, i.e. keeping in mind how they are likely to perceive the company as.
The primary objective of a consumer-driven brand is to enhance product usage and ensure a positive engagement for people availing of the service.
Customer-centric organizations take steps to understand the customer and formulate their strategies on the understanding that evolving a culture that provides consumers with the best experience enhances satisfaction, improves sales and retention, reduces service cost, and strengthens employees’ confidence.
Why is consumer centricity important for a business?
Focusing and building up your products around consumers is not only favorable to them but immensely helps a business garner a massive competitive advantage.
Across the customer journey, from awareness to purchase, every interaction, and stage benefits from a buyer-centric approach. With the fast-evolving digital environment nowadays, stressing personalization acts as a definitive differentiator from potential competitors.
4 reasons why consumer-centric businesses would perform well
- A consumer-centric brand is likely to be more profitable than those that are not since such firms can provide a positive buyer experience throughout their entire journey. They successfully create products, processes, policies, and experiences designed to aid customers and build lasting relationships.
- Consumer-centric businesses provide great one-to-one interaction and communicate with consumers via their preferred method. This helps to provide quick responses to queries faced by them and solve any issues that might arise in product usage.
- Since consumer-centric brands focus on building a good relationship with buyers, they can retain their confidence for a long time. This also helps build a reputation that in turn helps attract more buyers.
- Employees of a consumer-centric brand tend to be happier than otherwise. In a study of over 1,000 people who work for customer-serving companies, 74% of people who consider their jobs to be customer-facing find their jobs meaningful. Through interaction and empathy towards customers, workers can concentrate better and perform better.
Consumer-centric business examples
There is no doubt that Amazon is the most consumer-focused brand in the world at the moment.
What began as a simple online bookstore has evolved into a global e-com tycoon, selling a variety of products alongside offering a host of services.
For example, Amazon Prime which launched as a membership-only delivery service at its initial stage has transformed into a platform enabling users to download music, stream movies, access unlimited cloud storage, etc. helping the company diversify its identity and go on to become an unstoppable force. The brand’s logo signifying a smile indicates its promise to make consumers happy – a trait that helps in attracting more buyers.
Myntra, India’s largest online fashion store is not just a fashion company now. The brand with the aid of data technology is putting itself forward as a more personalized destination for its consumers.
Using technical data, it is trying to work on large-scale recommendations which will help find people products they might not even have searched up in the first place but catches their attention almost immediately, paving the way for customer satisfaction.
What is a Proudct-Centric Brand?
Product centricity, on the other hand, refers to one that emphasizes the product, making its development the focal point, and then seeks to find buyers and a market for it.
The assumption here is that a great product would instantly attract a vast majority of customers, leading to revenue, profits, and growth. The focus here is on the opinions and brainstorming ideas of the individuals involved with formulating the outcome, without taking into account much of the current market trends or highlighting the preferences of the customers.
4 key takeaways on why a product-centric approach will help your business grow
- A product-centric approach helps keep up with digitalization and build any combination of software & hardware facilities, and services, as and when required to deliver the entire product experience. Better technology helps reduce the cost of production and deliver faster and at lower rates.
Such a business model takes an outside-in approach to innovating defining, and planning products, allowing organizations to continuously bring about meaningful experiences and value to customers. It also helps organizations connect with customers, understand their needs, and respond quickly through well-designed products.
- Product-centric businesses ensure high-quality outcomes since the product goals and vision are clearly defined are preset. This along with efficient use of technology helps build an output par excellence.
In such an environment, the good is produced in a way that matches the market’s evolving needs with the objective being continually making the best products possible to sell maximum units.
- Though a product-centric brand is not designed with a targeted consumer base being the key, it brings in a greater amount of satisfaction since the company’s portfolio is made to appeal to everyone to target a large number of purchasers at a time.
Anything that is doing exceptionally well in a market, makes a company innovate and launch it to a newer customer segment or a new country. For the better performing products, they decide to invest further to upgrade the quality and continuously release the advanced versions into the market.
For the ones underperforming, the company may do away with the line and instead deploy its time and resources to the high-profiteering sectors.
- Product centricity helps ensure active employee engagement since there’s always a hunt for new ideas. It makes them think from both an innovator and receiver point of view and also helps the business receive constructive feedback on things that can be improved.
The essence of an employee-engagement strategy is collaboration. Irrespective of their role in the company, most are encouraged to speak up. The ideas hence bought to the table may solve problems or even be the next big thing.
Now that we have an idea about what consumer and product-centric organizations mean and how they can help develop a successful business model, let us evaluate which of these might be a better option.
Product centric business examples
Dyson is a classic example of product-centricity since it aimed to build a product that would stand out in terms of quality and deliverance and provide the best to a wide range of customers.
There has been a debate over whether the brand can be termed a product or consumer-centric but the business model pointed the company is more likely to push research into existing products rather than producing goods centered on customers’ needs that can immediately pull them into the market, and so the company is product-oriented.
Though Infosys is a global giant now, since its country of origin and headquarters lie in the country, we’d term it as an Indian example of a product-centric business.
The software development company outsources its tech services to companies in need of financial, manufacturing, and insurance sectors continuously innovating on building cost-efficient digital services. It recently unveiled a new set of Enterprise Agile DevOps capabilities with a product-centric value delivery model that would help businesses transform the way they develop products using advanced analytics and AI to generate insights on areas of action.
Product-Centric vs Consumer-Centric: what are the highlights?
As per what the approaches imply, the main difference between product and consumer centricity lies in who they choose to focus on – the good or the buyer. However, a closer look and we know there’s more than what is evident.
Several points differentiate the two, a few of which are as follows:
When a business is centered around a product, most of the investments are related to perfecting the outcome and coming up with the best quality.
The opposite happens in the case of a consumer-focused business since its job is to identify what the end-users want and create accordingly. This process of identification begins with studying the market demand and what a purchaser is looking for, unlike a product-centric brand that studies the feasibility of its products based on the availability of raw materials and adequate technology.
A product-centric business tends to have a greater market share since it applies to and targets a greater consumer base than a consumer-centric business that can only cater to the needs of a particular set of buyers during a period. Product-centric organizations are driven by the desire to focus their attention on making products available in the market rather than on the customers that purchase their products and upon launch, appeal to the general set of buyers.
The publicity of a product-centric business focuses entirely on showcasing the feature and versatility of the goods produced, underscoring the high amount of research that went into its innovation.
Consumer-centric companies, on the other hand, aim at turning their customers into ambassadors who help bring new sales prospects via word-of-mouth marketing of the benefits offered by what the brands produce, thereby building long-term relationships with their customers so that a steady income flow can be maintained.
What should your business model be?
Several deciding factors such as innovation, availability of technology, market penetration, etc. decide whether you should be a consumer or a product-based company. However, a general inference on how you should set up operations depends on how long you are in business.
If you are a startup, it is better to stick to a consumer-centric idea since it will be low on costs especially product development, technology implementation, funding of inventory, etc. With a product, high-quality manufacturing and service support need to be ensured In either case, being able to consistently repeat the service or product is critical, but the amount of time and money involved in product development is much higher compared to efficiency in service.
Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilientJeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon
If you have been in business for some time and began as a product-oriented brand with a good amount of initial investments, it is beneficial to shift your focus towards consumers since you have identified your target audience by now. Efficient use of technology leads to lowering manufacturing costs and innovating in your identified niche will now lead to saving of research costs and ensure its utilization in creating a better user experience. New branches of what you already produced will help attract and retain customers’ attention, leading to overall growth in operations.
A consumer-centric business that has been in operation for some time would not like to shift to product-centricity since it would make the brand lose its essence at the outset. It would also lead to the shift in focus from consumers to products and that might bring about a fall in the quality of service something that a business would never afford to do. Being customer-centric, however, does not mean product building can be ignored. Formulating an appealing business plan lies at the core of an organization.
However, there are exceptions!
For example, consider the case of Qualtrics and Survey Monkey. Both are product-centric and offer great technical features and assistance. But, Qualtrics despite not sticking to the conventional methods of product-led growth unlike the latter came up with a marketing plan targeted toward a section of customers, formulating a brand message that highlighted their consumer-led aspect. This, though highly uncommon in product-centric brands, was a massive success for the business and helped it thrive. Survey Monkey though with better technology and lesser costs lacked this heart-to-heart agenda, thereby failing to incorporate the great art of product marketing.
Apple has a similar scenario. The reason behind the brand’s immense success despite being largely product-centric is making consumers the marketing target while profiteering out of their devices remained the sale point of focus!
Apple’s unique case of both product and consumer centricity
Apple is a product company. A name that has built itself around the devices it produces – beginning with the first of a kind iPod to the latest iPad Pro.
The brand has always been about unique innovation and bringing unimaginable ideas to the table, a classic example of product centricity. It makes efficient use of available technology to give rise to newer and better versions of existing digital ideas. But in doing so did Apple not study the consumer market at all and went ahead with the idea of catering to the widest possible customer base?
So, what makes Apple stand out?
The human touch that is implemented in technology!
Apple never lets its designers lead product innovation. It directs them to create something that they would want to use as a consumer, implying that the design puts the consumer first — centered on their needs, benefits, and ideologies.
The brand also understands that customers’ wants have been following an uptick. Surely, we, as purchasers aren’t satisfied for long. Apple has embraced this and works constantly to improve its devices based on what purchasers might look forward to, often making changes that customers didn’t know they required until the latest version is released.
A noteworthy feature of the company is that it understands the value of making customers its brand ambassadors.
Instead of going into elaborate brand endorsements with well-known faces, the company turns its customers into fans who can’t wait to speak about their unique experiences to acquaintances — how much they love Apple products and why they do so.
The excellent #ShotoniPhone campaign gives users a unique chance to feature on Apple’s social media and tell their story about how an iPhone captured their timeless experiences forever.
This is one of the greatest marketing qualities of the brand and has helped it carve a niche in the world of brilliant business-building strategies.
Apple’s key idea has been telling stories through its products, stories the consumer feels connects with, giving the brand a unique consumer-centric identity despite being focused on the product.
Tips on how to make your business successful
3 ideas to succeed as a product-centric business
If you looking to go for product-centricity, the following are the major points to be kept in mind:
- Make sure you innovate an edge above what is already done. Since you are not targeting a section of consumers, it is important to develop an inclusive product that has more features than what is readily available. It is only then that you will be able to sell to a wide range of buyers.
- Efficient use of technology, that is, go for methods that save up your costs of production and basic operations should be your focus. Since
- you are investing a good amount of money in going digital, it is important to use it in a way as to cut back on manufacturing expenditure.
- Keep a steady flow of funds since a product-centric business requires a good amount of money to keep up with the costs of innovation. Design attractive pitch decks and seek out investors who are genuinely willing to be a part of your team.
3 insights on consumer-centricity that can change your business’ expansion path
Consumer-centric brands have a great potential for success depending on how well they can fulfill buyers’ wants. Let us find out how:
- Since buyers are your focus, it is essential to develop a smooth delivery system that ensures a pleasant purchasing experience. Focus on creating great walk-in stores, an amazing website to navigate through, and address queries and feedback on time. Incorporating consumer feedback into the system helps build your reputation as a label as well.
- Communication is the most important feature of a consumer-centric brand and end-to-end interaction with the customer by addressing their issues, guiding in the shopping experience, and helping with quick replacement of products that did not meet expectations will ensure sustainable loyalty.
- A buyer-centered brand succeeds only when people who work towards it share similar ideas and execution skills. Make sure to come through with a team that believes in your vision and passion for building something that is uniquely for the people you choose as the audience.
Now, what if you decide to choose the middle ground?
Apple’s brand story might inspire you to dream big and come up with something exclusive.
Don’t worry! You aren’t the only one.
Most businesses are making an effort to carve out a niche for consumers as well to ensure continued success as a product-focused company.
What should you do in that case?
Make what you create the center of your manufacturing development process and consumers the highlight of your promotion set.
Put simply, look for humane elements in what you decide to bring to the table and market it in a way your potential audience finds hard to resist. Remember, it’s important to create something distinct but more important to tell a story that people would love to hear.
Looking for ideas to build your business?
We, at Everything Design help you get ahead with the ideas you’ve visualized and form an identity for yourself. From helping you plan a business model to ensure the right kind of traffic on your website, get in touch and let us be a part of your team.