How to implement your product strategy

Once you have product vision established and strategy set, you need to implement and drive success. This requires leadership and management. Product managers have to play both these roles. Management is about coping with complexity, while Leadership is about coping with change.

As Product managers, you have to lead by setting direction, aligning people to that direction and inspiring people to achieve the vision.

Product managers need to be change agents and be able to implement their strategies, implement them through other individuals. There are three key aspects that product managers need to consider to be effective change agents.

1 People must agree that change is necessary

Status quo should not be acceptable and the people must see that the strategy is real, attainable and consistent with the overall company’s strategy.

The gain from it should outweigh the pain

2 Product managers must overcome barriers to change

Product managers should consider turf barriers, personality issues and any other factors that could impede a successful implementation. Product managers will need to think of ways to minimize the negative impact of those factors

3 People must understand the personal or individual implications of the strategy

As one implements the strategy through individuals and teams, product managers should address critical questions for those individuals or teams such as

How is the change relevant to what I do?
What specifically do I need to do?
What’s in it for me?
How will I be measured?
What consequences will I face?

As one goes about executing the product strategy, the product manager needs to monitor the underlying assumptions of the strategy are still viable.

Lastly as product managers implement this change, care should be taken to ensure there is a system of feedback and learning so that the strategy is not static.

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How to implement your product strategy

Are brand extensions good or bad? How can companies improve its market share by brand extensions?

This was a question posted on LinkedIn. Check out my answer on this –

Companies tend to leverage strong brand awareness by extending it to product variants in the same product line (e.g.:- a different size, flavor or color) or different product categories, as long as the essence of the brand you are leveraging fits the new product.

So when adding new products to your portfolio of offerings, you will need to consider both the fit of the product and the brand. The brand extension should be logical from a customer perspective

In technology products you will need to consider that the promise of quality carries over to your brand extension. You might want to consider how brand extensions work with other products in the portfolio or other products marketed by the company.

The product’s brand is not established before the first purchase of the new product. Thus the brand concept extended well can provide immediate customer attention, help associate existing brand strengths to the new product and eventually help the new product to be sold briskly, & thus gaining market share.

There are certain risks associated with brand extensions. The new product may be perceived significantly different from the original product and would eventually cause confusion in the market place. If the new product fails, there could be negative impact on to the core brand.

So before you develop a brand extension, you might want to consider how far a brand can be extended before it dilutes its identity with customers. What market segment are you targeting the brand extension to? You might want to consider a flanker branding strategy instead. If there are significantly different value propositions, you might want to use a separate branding.

Are brand extensions good or bad? How can companies improve its market share by brand extensions?

GOOG Quote

I came across a very interesting quote by Eric Schmidt the CEO of Google.

SCHMIDT: The company isn’t run for the long-term value of our shareholders
but for the long-term value of our end users.

How many times have we heard anyone in corporate world say this? Don’t search for the answer.

It is Zero.

A lot of companies focus on their customers, but when it comes to defining key success
metric, almost everyone I have heard, talks about shareholder return and value.

Focusing on your customers, and delivering long term value to your customers
as opposed to focusing on shareholder return,  this is a mantra that separate’s
a good company from a great one.

Google when it started out, did not really have a business model. But they focussed on
delivering a great search experience for their users and this eventually helped the
company build themselves into what it is today. This is the key reason that they are
a great company.

GOOG Quote