Brand differentiation using service promise – Ford and Samsung Example

Ford and Samsung take the service way cut the clutter


Brand differentiation is one of the key parameters to brainstorm in the life of a brand manager. The brand ethos of he product flow seamlessly into various media vehicles say TV, Print, Radio and Digital. However, in most of the cases the market stays cluttered with multiple brand trying to compete for consumers’ share of mind. Brand differentiation therefore becomes to drive home the message.

Brands may differentiate on the basis of:

  1. Product Features: Features of a product very much defines that expectation off consumers from the product. e.g. Everyone expects a technology rich device from Apple. If the brand doesn’t deliver that the product fails. One drawback with this is that product features can be replicated by competitors quickly so solely relying on this is not the best bet for brands
  2. Product Experience: Experience of consumers with the product directly influences the brand. Unlike product features, experience is difficult to replicate by competitors.
  3. Product Pricing: The product can either be made available at a discount or by charging a premium. The pricing and other parameters need to go hand in hand. A brand can command a premium only when the product features and experience are superior.
  4. Service Promise: As the difference between product features and pricing amongst competing Product service is a critical consumer touch point and needs to be dealt withthe same brand promise as the product. e.g. Apple service centers are located at prime locations and pamper the customer while his/her product gets fixed.


Example of Brand Differentiation via Service Promise

Ford differentiates brand promising cheaper service cost

Ford in India was suffering from the misconception that the service cost of their cars is high when compared to rivals like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. The company launched a 360 degree campaign talking about the misconceptions around their service cost. The campaign as mainly driven by a series of ads featuring the villains of Bollywood and Indian television in an act which makes the viewer think of the obvious from them. However, it turns out to be a false perception. Prior to Ford, Maruti Suzuki in the auto industry had already done a extensive campaign on service promise ‘No matter where you go, you’ll find a Maruti service station’ in early 90s.

Samsung follows the service communication route to cut the cluttered telecom space

In the same year as Ford, Samsung also jumped in to the service promise bandwagon to differentiate in the cluttered consumer durable space. When rivals like Sony, LG, Whirlpool, Panasonic, Oppo, Vivo, Gionee etc were boosting one product feature over the other, Samsung quietly took the service promise route to break the clutter. This campaign didn’t only take over the customers emotionally but also provided comfort with the brand Samsung after major goof ups with the Samsung Galaxy Note where the product had to be recalled on a global scale because of battery issues in the same year. US formally recalls Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone



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