Published on April 8, 2008
We also often hear of the term "solution" products and services where they are designed to meet specific end-user applications.
To remain competitive, firms now focus on one or two main concepts.
From a consumer perspective I have taken note of the trend.
For those who frequent fast-food or chain restaurants like McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Starbucks, have you ever wondered what are they really selling?
Or what are we actually buying apart from food? The underlining concept of chain or franchise restaurants is actually selling consistency.
Consumers can easily recognise the food and services of these vendors just by their brands no matter where they are located.
We know what to expect from the menus, price range, tastes and decor from the brand, which simplifies the selection process.
Chain restaurants were first opened in the United States, although the evidence is vague, back in about 1916.
The concept became popular among frequent travellers who began to look for such outlets.
Another factor contributing to the concept's success is knowing what to expect in prices, the level of cleanliness, friendly service and universal appeal to both adults and children.
Whether you want a cup of latte or a hamburger or fried chicken, it is a comfort to visit dependable establishments.
The success of the franchised business does not only depend on the products alone, but in meeting consumer expectations.
More products that share a common principle are Walkmans, notebook computers and mobile phones.
Although they function differently and are used for diverse purposes, they all tend to provide the same goal, and that is, for lack of a better term, personal freedom.
Prior the first Walkman release in 1979, a similar product called Stereo Belt was invented that same year.
We had to sit in front of a massive stereo component to enjoy music.
The concept of Walkman is to carry music with you wherever you go.
Furthermore it can be used in the presence of others without disturbing their space.
Back in the early 1980s, I still remember helping my friend carry the first portable computer: the Osborne 1.
It was not called a notebook or laptop then, because of its size, which was comparable with that of a sewing machine.
Although Osborne 1 affords the convenience of transport but it was hardly portable by today's standards.
It was the introduction of a computer that could be carried for personal use.
The product that is devoted to one of the highest levels of personal freedom is the mobile phone.
It has no wires attached, users need not sit around the phone waiting for it to ring and it can go wherever you go.
It also eliminates the address book, notepad and even cameras some of us used to carry.
These days' personal or portable gear has become a massive market.
Is it because of today's hectic, competitive and information-hungry lifestyles that have prompted people to be less patience.
We are no longer willing to remain stationary, waiting for the phone to ring, or work on computers in the office.
Consumers are more precious of their time and crave for freedom to do multiple tasks everywhere.
Now these handy products are getting smaller. They can provide communication, entertainment and work from only one unit.
The next generation may see us wearing such accessories, enhancing our personal freedom even further.
With information technology and increased market competition, the consumer has a wider choice.
Buyers are willing to pay more for better quality as a result of the expansion of the middle class.
The development and integration of products and services of establishments today are geared more towards special and specific missions.
Many business have merged to form new product groups such as the entertainment, media, healthcare industries.
Managing Director of Sriracha Nakorn CO LTD