What’s more important: good branding or a good product?

At a time when perception is reality, I believe high-quality products matter. Even good marketing can’t hide the fact that a product is mediocre.

The perception/reality scenario reared its head recently when I walked into Birk’s to buy jewelry. Upon arriving at the store, I was dressed in raingear and carrying a courier-like bag. And I was soaked after riding in the pouring, pre-Hallowe’en rain!

When I walked in the door, the salesperson asked me if I was there to pick up something. “No, I’m not a courier. I’m here to buy something,” I replied.

From there, it became a consumer-retailer experience.

It was a classic case of perception (bike courier) vs. reality (consumer). The lesson: be careful about making snap judgments about a brand, product, service, or person before you have all the facts.