define quality

3 overlooked issues and 3 recommendations

Like beauty, quality is in the eye of the beholder.

Quality is not an absolute concept, and at the risk of overdoing the platitudes – ones man’s meat is another man’s poison.

If I had a dollar for every commercial I have seen that claims to be offering a quality product or service, I would be a wealthy man. The fact is however:

  • Quality no longer has resonance with consumers – as it is so over used.
  • Quality is no longer a motivator – as it has not tangible meaning.
  • Quality is not an absolute term – meaning different things to different people.

I would argue that when addressing quality in advertising it is much more effective:

  • To avoid the word QUALITY altogether – allowing people to draw their own conclusion.
  • Demonstrating quality by way of the critical features of the product or service.
  • Recognising that quality is a measure of fit.

When a word no longer has meaning it is better that it is not used at all. To use a word without meaning is to risk damaging credibility. The word is used so freely and so often that no longer has meaning and sound hollow – along with service and value.

Demonstrating quality by highlighting features that appeal to the target market and which they relate to is by far the most effective way of communicating quality.

Finally, and most importantly – quality is not absolute – it is in reality a qualitative measure of the extent to which a product or service, meets or exceeds the needs and wants of consumers.

Quality, like service standards and value are ultimately judged by the consumer not the producer or retailer. On this basis it is not relevant for the producer or retailer to make statements about quality – it is for them to demonstrate features that will be judged by consumers to be indicative of quality.

A more effective approach involves – determining exactly what customers want and how they judge quality, and then developing a product or service that exceeds those expectations on the key tangible criteria identified.


  1. Claiming QUALITY is counterproductive
  2. Demonstrating QUALITY can be effective
  3. Enabling customers to conclude QUALITY is optimal


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