Friday, June 28, 2013

Features do not differentiate brands

As product developers, we are obsessed with features. What can we add to our product and service to make sure we have everything the customer wants and needs – even those features they never knew they needed until we added them?

Features are great. Features are important. Features lead to benefits. Without relevant features there's no reason for anyone to buy our products.

But features do not differentiate brands.

You can get adaptive cruise control on a $25,000 Ford Fusion and a $205,000 Bentley Flying Spur.

You can get vibrating bristles on a $4 Oral-B toothbrush and a $100 Sonicare.

You can get a 15-inch HD display, Intel i7 processor and 500 GB of storage on a $1,300 HP Spectre and a $2,800 MacBook Pro.

The difference isn't the feature. It's in how each brand executes that feature. It's in the design, the materials, the experience, the positioning.

When Volvo touts its all-wheel drive system, it does so by saying that it makes you safer.

When BMW promotes all-wheel drive, it does so by saying it improves driving performance.

Features do not differentiate brands.

Brands differentiate features.