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Andrea Hill

Here’s Why the Supporting Details Matter More Than the Product You Sell

After all, a karaoke singer singing “Crazy” won’t sound as good as Patsy Cline.




BEFORE YOU DIG into this article, if you’re on your smartphone or at the computer, open YouTube, search for Patsy Cline singing “Crazy,” and let it play in the background. I promise … there’s a point.

Whether or not you are a fan of country music, it is impossible to listen to this Willie Nelson-penned song and not fall in love with it. The melody is deceptively simple. It draws you in with a gentle, melodic introduction and melancholy piano supported with very sparse background strings. But it is packed with dramatic phrases, unexpected harmonic shifts, and chord substitutions that give it emotional depth and complexity. It is a brilliant composition.

It’s also easy to sing, which is why there’s someone, somewhere, butchering that song on a karaoke stage right now.

“Crazy” is the perfect example of how a nearly perfect product can be a complete failure when the rest of its supporting details get it wrong. The singer’s voice, breath control, vocal agility, diction, emotional intelligence, and musicality all influence whether the cover is a dream or a dud.

This is true of selling luxury goods too. It is insufficient to simply get the products right because it’s the supporting details that will ultimately determine how those products are perceived, and if consumers agree with the prices you have assigned to them. Which supporting details? Every single touchpoint from first awareness through post-sale service adds to or takes away from the perceived value of your products.

Do your social media posts and online ads convey the same, consistent brand message?


When consumers follow those links to your website, does the site make your brand come alive through every photograph, turn of phrase, in the ease of navigation and speed of response?

Do your store windows, displays, and visual merchandising add to or take away from the perceived value of your products?

When your sales and service teams speak to customers, is the brand flowing from them in their appearance, words, and actions?

When making a purchase in your store or online, is the experience frictionless, supporting the luxury brand experience customers expect, or is it filled with bumps-in-the-road — even small ones?

Does the unboxing experience at home bring back a wonderful memory or shadows of doubt?

Does the customer continue to feel the glow of satisfaction long after the purchase?


Is the singer bringing it like Patsy Cline, or barking on the high notes, going flat in the mid-ranges, singing loud when she should be breathy, and sounding more resentful than melancholy?

Every time we do brand analysis and architecture work for clients, we go looking for the details other than products that contribute to … or detract from … perceptions of product quality. Two stores in the same community with the same exact customer base and the same exact product lines could have completely different pricing limitations, all due to their ability to deliver on the supporting details of the brand.

But this is so rarely understood. The result is that we encounter business owners struggling to source lower-priced products or reducing the margin on existing products … fiddling with the product offering instead of paying close attention to all the supporting details that make up your brand strategy.

So here’s a little secret. The products are fine … there’s nothing wrong with the products. Tackle everything else. Bring it like Patsy, because what’s keeping customers from perceiving the exquisiteness of your products is probably everything else.

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