March 2016
Quality Trumps Everything

Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

While I understand that consumers are fickle, frequently gravitate towards “what’s new” instead of “what’s good,” it has been my experience that quality and authenticity are the best things brand owners can pursue.


It amazes me to see so many companies struggling to find ways to develop new and different products using questionable materials and ingredients. Why not simply produce the real deal and make it the best it can possibly be? Why is it so rare for marketers to understand the human condition and offer a plausible emotionally appealing solution?

Take a look at meat substitutes. If consumers decide to pursue a vegetarian lifestyle, they are saying “I prefer to eat vegetables.” Why then do so many companies feel the need to describe their products as “imitations?” Veggie bacon? Veggie hamburgers? Veggie hotdogs? While TVP (textured vegetable protein) may get close, it just isn’t meat. Fortunately, some of the folks in this category have finally realized that veggies offer powerful and meaningful food experiences all by themselves and are developing brands and products that exploit these qualities.

Cheap or inadequate imitators are all over the place. Seems kinda silly to set up a business model that states “Let’s be the best at being second-tier” or “Let’s give buyers something close, but not exactly what they want.”

I believe that authenticity is important and quality is the ultimate destination. Quality of products. Quality of service. Quality of experience. Quality of life. Companies including Anthropologie, Apple, Starbucks and Whole Foods have championed this approach. And fortunately, others are following.

Here’s my suggestion. Once you’ve identified a real need, and are not simply playing around with passing trends, start everything with an authentic, quality-oriented approach. No cutting corners. No second tier solutions. No compromises. Then, make it fun, enjoyable and satisfying.

I’m not saying this will be easy. And it’s not as simple as these few words may imply. The net effect is that, for those companies that invest in real, meaningful and satisfying experiences, their brands stand out from the crowd, are well-regarded and tend to become highly sought after category leaders.


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

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