"Brands are an economic concept that was produced by the industrial revolution. Most markets were commodity markets. In fact economic theory talks only about commodities, optimal pricing to reach equilibrium conditions, and the difficulty of longterm differentiation between suppliers. Branding is the only strategy to get out of commodity markets.Depois, à noite, via "Strategy as love, not war" (BTW, este título tem tanto que se lhe diga... em vez da guerra entre concorrentes, o desafio de procurar desenvolver relações amorosas com os clientes) encontro:
This is why economic theory does not like brands. As a rule people tend to say that a commodity market is one where differentiation is impossible. The market is driven by price alone and maybe corporate reputation to secure the buyers. The brutal truth is that a commodity market is one where no one has invested enough in differentiation. It is a lazy market. Now we do not mean that no one has advertised, as is too often believed, but that no one has thought of a new ‘value curve’ for a specific target. A ‘value curve’ is a specific set of utilities delivered by the brand to a chosen and well-delineated target.
Services are a classic way to differentiate commodities in B2B. To fight against low-cost suppliers that suppress all services in order to reach the lowest cost and offer a price-killing proposition, there is no other solution than to invest in intangibles: services plus image reputation. Business credit cards fight by proposing to be more than cards but rather partners in cost control, accounting, funds and flow management, etc. Air Liquide, like Linde or Air Products, makes 80 per cent of its profits on 20 per cent of its volume. Eighty per cent of the volume is a commodity (bottled oxygen for hospitals, for instance), but the company develops tailor-made speciality gases for niches identified as mainstream segments. These niches are price insensitive: the fresh food industry seeks a special gas to sustain the crispiness of packaged salad leaves for more than a week, as does the retailer."
"At the beginning of my work on the Delta Model, I coined a silly statement, thinking it was a joke: “Commodities only exist in the minds of the inept.” It turns out it isn’t a joke. Obviously a product could be a commodity. Take copper. The product cannot be differentiated, which makes it a commodity. I cannot say that the Chilean copper is superior to the American copper. But copper as a business — the way that Siemens uses copper in their power plants, the way that GM uses copper in their cars, the way Carrier uses copper in their air conditioning units – is completely different..
Therefore, commodities don’t really exist. The customers are all different, and if you do not understand that, you are commoditizing something — and believe it, there is so much of that happening in business in America. Typically, when I’m teaching these concepts, I ask the group of executives I teach, “Tell me, among all of you present, how many of you think that a significant percentage of your business comes from commodities?” And invariably, 100 percent of the hands come up, and I know then that they have come to the right place — because they are not thinking correctly."
Trechos iniciais retirados de "The New Strategic Brand Management" de Jean-Noël Kapferer.