Rule Your Product Royally With an Iron Fist
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And here’s your host, Matt Hardy.
Today I want to talk about 4 pillars of product alignment. The more affectionate title being: “The Russian Prince: Rule Your Product Royally With an Iron Fist.”
In Canada, we have a certain brand of vodka called “Russian Prince.”
Ha – and you thought with a title like “The Russian Prince” we might be talking about something a little more refined or intellectual.
Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, or something from Russian authors Dostoyevsky or Chekov.
Nope. Not today.
Today we’re learning from a brand of vodka.
Did that go the way you thought it would? Nope.
The name “Russian Prince” makes you think it might be something reserved for royalty, but in reality its milky-white plastic bottle and burning taste that assaults the senses bring to mind thoughts of a dingy, industrial bottling center for nail polish remover or turpentine.
Maybe they make the vodka and nail polish remover on the same assembly line and Evgeni just labelled them wrong.
I’m sure when they realized the mistake they made they didn’t bother issuing a recall, figuring that in a blind taste test nobody would be able to tell the difference.
“Ahh Evgeni, killing me man. Always forget check before put stickers on.
It’s friday and he leaves for weekend, giving me mess I have to clean up.
What I’m gonna do? Forget it – leave it – nobody tell difference.”
I can only assume that’s how it went down.
Anyways, let’s look into these pillars of proper product alignment.
A product needs 4 things to be in alignment so customers can understand what is being offered and make a buying decision.
The first pillar is price.
The price of your product helps classify it product as a LOW, MID, or HIGH end product.
Russian Prince vodka is Low-End when it comes to price. Its pricing is right in line with the lower-end of the pricing spectrum when compared to its competitors. So its cost isn’t a factor that would set itself apart from its competitors.
Pillar number 2: Product Packaging
The packaging and graphics used for a product also give the market an idea of what you’re offering.
If you have a cheap cellophane wrapper and a logo that looks like it was done by someone who is learning to use Microsoft Paint, you are telling the market that the product is Low-End.
Russian Prince vodka comes in a white/silver industrial-looking plastic bottle, while other competitors at the same price point come in clear glass bottles.
So by comparison, it is Low-End.
Now, here’s where things start to go a bit off-course in terms of the product alignment.
The label is a nice dark red and silver featuring a serious-looking Russian prince on it. It has almost a vintage feel to it.
So the logo itself doesn’t scream Low-End, but it isn’t the most incredible label ever seen, so I’d throw it in the Low to Mid-End category when compared to the competition.
Pillar number 3: Product Title
The product title is often the biggest clue as to where a product wants to be located in the marketplace, and it can be the biggest selling feature.
If the title evokes any sort of feeling or thought association, it should be aligned with the rest of the product and where you want it to land, whether in the low-mid or high range of the market.
If you’re selling the best widget ever, customers expect the price to be high-end and the packaging to look incredible so everything matches and is in alignment.
If any of these things don’t align it creates confusion and leaves customers with questions that may need answering before a sale is made.
The name “Russian Prince” seems a bit off, as the thoughts associated with the word “Prince” conjure up all sorts of ideas of royalty, luxury, opulence, elitism and all that good stuff.
High-End type stuff.
Having a title that contradicts the price & packaging creates confusion – especially if it seems to offer more than what the price and packaging may point to.
Maybe the creators of “Russian Prince” vodka were trying to contrast the idea of a King verses a Prince – as in the Prince hasn’t fully developed into a king just yet and he’s still got some growing up to do – like he’s still growing into his crown.
Maybe they’re saying, “Our vodka isn’t there yet – but one day, it just might be.”
If you have a product called “The Best Widget Ever” and it comes in a cheap package with a horrible logo, people are going to be skeptical.
And with a title like the “Russian Prince” it seems we are running into the same sort of issue.
The fourth and final pillar of product alignment we’ll look at is the product itself.
All the other three pillars happen before a product is purchased, but this one obviously happen post product purchase.
Once a product is purchased and consumed or used, it comes down to: Does the product itself line up with the price, packaging and title?
And this is the final, heavy-handed blow from the Russian Prince – the product.
It officially cements with brutal efficiency in one’s mind exactly where the product stands.
The product seems to remove the top layer of skin from your throat before the aftertaste crawls back up into your mouth with such power that it momentarily short-circuits your senses, leaving you with involuntary convulsions and a taste that you can only describe as being what you imagine paint thinner or nail polish remover to be like.
So ya, I’d say the product is low-end.
To sum it up we have a low price, a packaging being a mix of low and mid-end, the title being high-end and the final product itself being low-end.
Sooooo, I’d say it’s a low-end product.
The key point here is that the product title is not in line with the price, packaging and product.
A good title can make or break a product – especially online where customers can’t fully evaluate the packaging or product itself before buying.
And a product title can often overshadow price and packaging in a final buying decision.
In our example, with the name “Russian Prince” it gives a high-end title to an otherwise low-end product – which may trick people into buying it once.
But probably only once.
Unless, of course, you have no other options and you’re mixing it with something else.
But coke can make just about anything taste good.
As we’ve seen a product’s price, packaging, title and the product itself all need to be aligned together or it will cause confusion.
And if customers are confused – they often don’t buy.
In making comparisons like this, we are looking to see if we meet or exceed what our competition is doing – based on price, packaging, title and product – within the low, mid, and high end of the market segment we are in.
If you have a low-end price, high-end packaging, high end title & a high end product you may be selling yourself short or leaving money on the table.
If you have a high end price & high end product, but low-end packaging and a low end product title, you’re still a couple tweaks away from hammering out complete product alignment.
And so on.
As you are the royalty that is calling the shots on your product, you need to rule this area with an iron fist.
The price, packaging, title & product all must point in the same direction toward the area of the market you want your product in – whether high-end, medium-end, or low-end.
As we saw with “Russian Prince” vodka, even just mis-aligning one of these pillars can cause confusion and throw a wrench in everything.
The product is made in Canada, so I’m not quite sure why they’d risk an international incident by trying to link a horrible vodka with Russian royalty.
Maybe “Russian Rooster” would’ve been a better title.
Roosters are pretty common and low-end, and they can give you a jolt with their crowing – much like “Russian Prince” vodka can seem like you’re swallowing a high-voltage wire when you take a sip.
Here’s to aligning products perfectly and giving others the nice, light-headed buzz of customer satisfaction while you enjoy the life of royalty your product affords you.
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I hope you got something out of this podcast.
An idea you can use.
A different thought or viewpoint.
Or maybe you found it mildly amusing.
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