Depending on the market and product characteristics, the competition takes place at one of the product levels.
Six levels of product hierarchy with relation to certain other products are described and few possible classifications of the products listed. A notion of product mix, or assortment, is introduced and defined as a combination of all the products offered by a particular market player to its customers. It is characterized by the width, length, and consistency. Product line decisions are important for the product strategy and should be based on product-line and market analysis, considering optimal product-line length and issues of modernization, featuring and pruning.
The second part of the chapter is devoted to the brand and brand decisions. Brand is a complex symbol; it identifies certain products and distinguishes them from the competition in the mind of the customer and in the marketplace. Building brand identity is extremely important as it allows the company to increase the differentiation of its products and receive price premiums. Building brand identity requires decisions on the brand's name, logo, colors, tagline, and symbol. Brand strategy decision includes choice between functional, image and experiential brand, and brand development and repositioning. Packaging and labeling are also important parts of the overall product strategy.
This chapter is devoted to the marketing and management of services. ...