If you were in a discount shoe store and saw a beautiful new pair of Nike tennis shoes on sale for $11.99, how would you react?
If you’re like me, you would conclude something is wrong with the shoes! Nike has spent millions to groom and nurture their brand and cutting the price only diminishes their premium image.
So what would you think of the brand image of a product that has a price of ZERO?
This was the subject matter of a little “twit-à-tête” between myself, my friend Steve Dodd, and a few others on Twitter yesterday. I had suggested in my last blog post that small businesses need a free, cross-platform social media metrics dashboard.
That started a round-robin of tweets (yes, pun was intentional) regarding why it had to be free and the impact that price would have on brand equity. Steve’s comment was: “Why should comprehensive measurement tools be free? In my opinion, if they are monetized other ways, their credibility tanks.”
Steve is a keen intellect and when he speaks, I listen. Certainly using my Nike example as a model, he’s absolutely right.
But then I thought about the revolutionary, brand powerhouses like Google, Facebook and YouTube. For you and me, the price of their products is zero, yet they have convincingly nurtured an extremely strong brand in the mind of consumers.
Consumer products in the same price range as Google would be a paper towel in a public restroom, a salt packet at McDonald’s and a toothpick. Think about THAT as a weird business model!
Can you think of another example in history where a company carved out a premium product image (like Google) with a price of nothing? Have we entered a new era of marketing where, in some cases, a brand image can be completely disconnected from price?
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