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A good marketing campaign will not conceal defective products or make them more appealing than they are. You've got to have it nailed on the product angle.

If you do, and have worked to build something that is of value to a certain demographic, type of customer, group of people -- there is research there, too -- then the quality as perceived by those same people will be value.

Are you sure you're not from Europe? Your taste seems to indicate there is a preference for European craftsmanship.

Agreed, a sommelier will know good wine from taste. The study interested me because I grew up in Italy and I know that back then a designer brand "made" you better. Yes, we were all teen agers and did not have too many other points of reference, but it was a piece of important information about you.

It still is, or people would push back on highly priced items. And interestingly enough, in many cases, the purchase is aspirational.

I've been thinking about shopping for a new car in the next year or so -- and I am very undecided. I keep thinking of cars and bikes when we exchange comments ;-)

Is the underlying question about perceived value?

It's a falsity, but I think it takes an expert in the field to determine that. What field? Funny "you" should ask... But, the expert isn't always right. :-)

A sommelier is more likely to know the better wines, regardless of cost, than the average restaurant goer. I'm working hard on trying to get the Citroen 2CV into my point, but my command of argument isn't quite up to the task. I'll settle for this:

Cost equals, well, nothing but a perception of value. In the case of genuine luxury goods, the manufacturer can reap the benefit of popularity - and provide that extra little "zing" of being genuine, at some premium.

Just because something costs a lot, implies little about its actual quality - until that quality is proven! The Citroen 2CV isn't as fast, or refined, a car as the Rolls Royce, or the Porsche 911, but you know what - neither the Rolls nor the Porsche will carry a basket of eggs across a plowed field without breaking them. (I nearly had it! Sorry.)

People equate cost with quality - and they shouldn't. Cost means something, but quality, well - that's impossible to define. But you'll assuredly know it when you see it. :-)

Carolyn Ann

PS I think the point is that quality is communicated by the entire brand, the entire conversation, you have with the consumer. A great product, but lousy sales staff isn't a quality act. I know at least one Honda dealer like that; the most recent one we dealt with? Quality product, quality service; resulting in "a very happy customer". Who is already planning to spend another $30K on a new car with that dealer. (The other dealer? We'd be happy if they went bust.)

Andy,

Thank you for adding a dimension to the discussion. An exact price is more believable thus easier to agree to as people tend to round up when talking about cost.

I'm thinking that the application to demi-luxury could be interesting. The luxury-goods market is a totally different animal in my mind. By the tie you walk into the store, you have *already* decided you are going to buy, the cost becomes information to validate your purchase, not a determining factor.

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