Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on October 10, 2011
Is it irrational to say that a human being comes to world as a product and then gradually develops into a brand? However I have reasons to argue that few people become brand even before they come to the world, like son/daughter of renowned personalities or celebrities.
In this article I will compare human beings with product, its evolution as a brand and its similarity and association with PLC (Product Life Cycle).
Let me first try to compare the well known PLC (Product Life Cycle) with a human being’s evolution as a brand and how all the human being goes through these stage (unlike products).
Human Being on PLC (Product Life Cycle)
Now we will see how human being can be studied as a product, and how different thing that happens to a person is very much similar to what happens with a product in a market. Why few people go with a huge brand and few just disappear from the market after leaving a very less recall on the minds of majority.
I will put the entire PLC in a traditional method of 4 stage assessments which are, Introduction of product, Growth of product, Maturity of product & Reinventing or Decline of a product.
Introduction of the product: - In case of introduction of a product people become very excited and anxious how market will look at the product, whether this product will remain good for longer period of time or not etc. Few characteristics of this stage are higher investment, less output, minimal competition, product is enhanced to create acceptability, and differentiation is created over other similar products.
In case of a human being everything remains the same, before birth, publicity is there in the society that a child will be born in this month (expected). If the child is not of a great celebrity or so, then pre birth branding doesn’t happen and in that case the child has to struggle and has to create its own demand in the society. If the child is of a celebrity then pre birth branding happen which definitely gives the child an already created space because of the parent’s credibility and acceptability. Parents remain excited and anxious whether my child will be up to my expectation or not, whether he/she will take my family culture forward or not. Monitory input goes high, family culture is embedded which is similar to a product when we embed our company’s mission and vision with new products we launch. We do not expect immediate output however we have a desire that input that we are putting in must be fruitful in long run. We also try to differentiate a child by giving him best possible education, better culture, good manners etc, which is highly acceptable and is respected in the society so we prepare a child which can create its space in the society. Most important thing in this stage is that the child doesn’t have a much say in this process as he is not aware about most of the outside world and he didn’t chose the surroundings. Competition is very low as most of the child’s requirements are fulfilled by parent so the child doesn’t have to compete.
Growth of the product: - Once the introduction phase is over product starts showing return on investment, market and channels start responding to the product offering. Slowly product starts showing profits. Competition starts creeping in at this point people are ready with their products to compete with yours. Any mistake at this point affects the product as the product is exposed to the market and as bad news travel fast. Thus special care needs to be taken care at this point as this phase to a large extent determines the future of the product. Many new attributes are added as per the market demand and to compete in the market. Market starts developing at faster pace.
Growth stage in human beings also remains the same as a product, as the child has come to the society so now he/she has to compete in the society with many other children of his age. Due to technology and other advancement creating a difference becomes a problem. If nice education and culture is given child starts emerging in the society as a respectable human being, and society starts responding to this by appreciating parent that they have imbibed very nice culture in their child. Anxiety of parent goes down to certain extent however uncertainty of society and other external factors always keep them on their toes. If proper care is not taken and the child has not been given right culture and education, he/she starts moving to an unanticipated direction. Child’s velocity in this unanticipated direction is further fuelled by the competition and the external forces. At this stage other parents also start comparing their child with other child and start incorporating changes which are making others successful. As the saying goes borrowed garment never fit well, in order to compete with other child the child losses its USP and then it becomes another “Me Too” child in the society. Special care needs to be taken at this stage as type of the society a child gets oriented to will decide the type of image he/she will have in the society. The child needs to be cared very nicely and must be taken proper care by giving them more input and taking them into right direction.
Maturity stage of the product: - The problem of duplication comes; many competitors come in the market with similar attribute and capabilities. The product is established so promotion cost becomes lesser. Most of the things have already been tried so, there remains very less scope of potential growth of the product. Major focus in this stage remains to extend this phase where they can start earning more and cost per customer is very less. As the product has already been established in the market so copying a competitor product would mean another same version of the competition’s product. Then we do mergers and acquisitions to extend this phase, with an expectation that this merger will help the company to extend the phase.
A person also achieves a lot in this phase and becomes most productive he/she wants to extend this period for a longer period of time which is unfortunately not possible for most of the people; few people maintain this by increasing their brand image and adding new accolades to their profile. As most of the people know a person (one who has established himself in the desired field) so he/she doesn’t have to introduce him/herself at every occasion in his chosen field. Society by know what kind of personality a person has so wearing a different mask or copying somebody else doesn’t prove to be much beneficial. A person in this stage decided to get married (Merger) and 2 parties meet with the expectation that their alliance will go a long way and will be beneficial for the family (Stakeholders). If the marriage remains successful then the life becomes rosy and the family reaches to a great heights as now both families start making efforts to help each other and grow, so this phase gets extended. In case if both parties after sometime realize that the culture of families (working culture of companies) does not match then it leads to a divorce, then the money invested in the marriage goes waste as a sunk cost and recovery percentage is very less in many cases, however few women ask for the alimony which cover a basic part of that and it becomes like a long term debt that a company has to pay if it takes a loan for the merger or acquisitions and they have to pay the interest even if the merger proves to be a bad decision.
Reinventing/Decline stage:- Market becomes saturated, sales and profits decline, expenses starts increasing, huge amount of man power and resources are needed, lot of resources are used to rejuvenate the dying product. Only 3 options are left with the company:
a) Reposition or rebrand the product to extend PLC.
b) Maintain the product as it is and reduce the cost.
c) Take the product off the market.
Competitors start declining and it’s the time when a company starts milking the product, and start exploiting it till the time it exists, if the product is not planning to reinvent itself.
A person’s image also becomes saturated till the time he doesn’t reinvent himself and start adding more and more diverse skills into his profile in this stage. Investment in maintaining him/herself and in medicines etc increases as the old age starts approaching. Many people reinvent themselves and they continue to enjoy a very good image and respect in the society till they finally exit from the society.
I would like to conclude here by saying that many books can be written around this concept of making human being as a product and how different models can fit in on our lives.
If we observe we will find that most of us have realized this fact that we are also a product with feelings obviously, but if we talk about that in professional field then we are a product which becomes a brand by associating ourselves with different established brands or by adding more and more attributes in ourselves, and because of these attributes we create our demand in the market.