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Different Product Thresholds and Their Impact on Consumer Behavior
Evolution is a way of life. Let us imagine a situation wherein there is no difference between your product and the competitor's product in terms of product quality, look, packaging, and others. What would set you apart in the market? How will customers recognize you?
To answer these questions, companies need to constantly change themselves and their product offerings as per market requirements. This not only helps the companies gain a competitive advantage, but also set them apart from its competitors in the minds of customers. Such differences help in the positioning of the product as well.
We will also look into what companies did right and learn from their mistakes.
Concept of Different Product Thresholds
Different Product Thresholds, or Just Noticeable Difference (JND), or Weber’s Law, speak about the improvisation that companies make in terms of their products, services, logos, price point, quantity delivered, and others. This JND is important for the brands because it helps the brand distinguish itself from other competitive brands, and a brand cannot come up with major revolutions every now and then. Brands work on an incremental graph, and the small changes that brands make are sometimes noticeable and sometimes not. When customers are not happy with the JND, they start avoiding the product and the brand because they lose the connection between the brand and themselves. Hence, companies walk on eggshells whenever they come up with improvisations.
When Mondelez changed the packaging size of Toblerone, five change organizations filed petitions on behalf of customers, and Toblerone had to restore the product to the old packaging because it was impacting sales and brand image. However, there are cases when the brand does not take back the change it made and knows it is for the better.
Starbucks removed the brand name from the logo and just kept the green mermaid. There were customer lash backs, but soon they died and customers accepted the new logo. This is the reason why it is crucial for us to understand the JND and its impact on consumer behavior.
JND Parameters and Their Impact on Consumer Behavior
Companies will be changing in many aspects to suit the needs of the market or consumer demands. Here, we will be highlighting certain points of consideration while applying the different product thresholds.
Some of them are −
Product improvisation − Whenever the company is adding new features or improvising the existing product and its features, it makes noise. This noise is to attract more customers and make the current ones loyal to the brand. But companies have to be considerate while doing this. The consideration should be the most noticeable factor of the change made.
For example, when Apple added the feature that made the mobile phone's display sharper, it was criticized by customers because the change was not noticeable enough, but when Apple came up with Retina Display features, the brand and its efforts were applauded. Whenever the company introduces any product innovation, it should measure the JND factor of the difference. If it is lower, then the customers will be disappointed because they will be acquiring the new product and will not feel the difference.
Increment in the price of the product − Customers never accept an increase in the price of the product with happy hands. In times of crisis or difficult financial situations, customers switch to other brands, but in good times, they just do not feel the pinch as much. The best way a company can deal with the rising cost of production is by reducing the number of goods in the packet. While doing this as well, the company should make sure that the packaging of the product and the difference in quality are not that great. If the JND is high, then customers will criticize and switch over.
Also, when the company is providing the cutters with an extra quantity or a different good (a medium of sales promotion), they should make it evident to attract cutters.
For example, as a response to the side effects of World War II or the recession, companies generally reduce the number of goods from 1 Kg to 900 grams.
Changing brand logos − Brand logos are the ones that give identity to the brand. The changing of the logo should also be done with caution. Customers will feel disassociated from the brand and its products if they see the packaging and logo changing drastically.
For example, when Instagram changed its logo from the old vintage camera to the modern camera, the shape and design were kept the same; just the pattern and colors were changed. These incremental changes help the brand's image and customer recognition. When brands change their logos drastically, customers fail to recognize the brand and feel that things or products have also changed. GAP also had to bring back its old logo.
Humans dislike change from the core of their hearts, but this constant change is what keeps us updated and relevant in the competitive market. Companies have to strike a balance in the JND factor and try to stay relevant as well as keep customers happy. Consumer behavior is unpredictable at times, but most of the time, customers react in a certain manner. Just a Noticeable Difference (JND) is important for the company’s success.
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