Products with an “expiration date” (planned obsolescence) have often made the headlines. Washing machines, printers, cell phones and televisions – deliberately giving up their ghost so that a planned product life cycle can take place.
Such “tricks” lead to considerable damage to the company’s image for several reasons. Last but not least, it clearly contradicts the environmental idea and also, in some countries, the law, since a deliberately hidden defect in the product can be complained about in terms of warranty.
Planned obsolescence not only affects physical products, but also, for example, the security update for digital products, which is not communicated in advance, comes very close to such an event.
At the EU level, the EESC is dealing with this issue, but so far there is nothing that directly addresses planned obsolescence and would formulate a uniform definition across Europe, also because proving planned obsolescence seems to be difficult.
Even if the majority of consumers are convinced of the existence of planned obsolescence and of the need to fight against it, there is always the problem of provability and legal enforceability. However, it is certainly problematic if your product is associated with this issue.
All the more the exact opposite should be aimed at, namely a longevity and high quality of your products.
Especially for smaller brands, the “premium” customer target group is often interesting. This group will always have money and / but can judge your product well. Therefore, in contrast to planned obsolescence, long-term advantages of your products have to be worked out, implemented and communicated, as long as a massive cost reduction of your established brand products is not planned. And even then, planned obsolescence will only give you “breathing room” in the short term. Quality prevails and thus, for example, campaigns remain affordable. The following strategies can help you communicate your long-term benefits:
Brand maintenance & building with reference to the advantages
Your brand is one of your company’s most important assets. It communicates what you do, what you stand for, what your values are and what they entail, your personality as a company.
It shapes consumer perception – while every business dreams of having a dominant brand, it takes time, effort and investment to build a brand. However, the benefits of building and maintaining a strong brand are endless: customer recognition, word of mouth, customer loyalty, increased credibility and ease of purchase, to name a few.
The best visual communication concepts are consistently focused on the benefits of the product. You should show key scenes from the use of the product that consistently show the benefits and tell a value story to go with it. It all comes down to a good idea linked to a good product. The brand name gains value when it is associated and remembered with quality.
Long-term benefits within the company are reflected externally
While branding and product benefits are often touted, there are other very important but lesser known benefits of a strong brand. The recruitment and retention of employees and/or, for example, the opportunity to share in the company’s success. For such concept proposals the agency needs extensive confidence from the enterprise, which must be worked out mostly first.
These benefits are of great importance for the company – from the HR department to sales, PR and the product.
Long-term benefits should exist not only for the customer, but for the company as an entire organism.
This paradigm shift can bring great things to your company and significantly support the strategy towards long-term benefits of your products. The foundation of long-term benefits should not be confused with a “laissez-faire” management style. What the long-term benefits should promote is even more hard work and success in and around your company, as the identification with your company increases when employees noticeably share in the success.
Practical tip: Communicating product benefits in e-commerce
“What’s in it for me?” is a question that all potential customers ask themselves sooner or later. Salespeople would therefore do well to give customer benefits a prominent place in their argumentation. However, this is more than just a random listing of product benefits. Work out the USP’s (Unique Selling Propositions) of your products.
The full “5-point” list of Amazon products is there for a reason. This is to sweep out the key USP’s of a product.
Next to the image on a product page on Amazon, you’ll find five bullet points that describe the main features or benefits of the product. You make it easier to read by minimizing blocks of text and providing users with bite-sized information that they can use to make a buying decision.
This technique can also be applied to your own web store. Provide extensive information in a downloadable PDF first.