Build Great Stuff, Listen, then Make it Even Better

When I was in high school, our family went out for dinner in this small but new Chinese food joint near our place. 

Everything about it seemed promising: nice branding, clean tables, a well-lit area – the works. 

And then we got to taste the food. 

We never came back. 

A few months later, the food joint closed. 


As you might’ve figured out from the title, this post isn’t (just) about that restaurant and the bad taste it left in our mouths: it’s about products, in general. 

The thing is, you can package and market garbage as nicely as you can, but don’t expect people won’t eventually smell the stink soon after. The starting point always has to be building products that solve problems effectively – and listening to your consumers well enough to refine the product even further. 

Companies far and wide began to equate marketing with the comparatively narrow field of brand communications, rather than the broader organisational principle it more fundamentally aspires to be – in simple form the orientation of a business around its consumers’ needs and wants,” says Laurence Green in this Telegraph article

Green thinks that companies (and marketers too) should remember the #1 factor for a brand’s longevity and success – a factor succinctly summarized by a line from a recommendation paper by ad agency J. Walter Thompson to one of its clients: “In simple terms, we think that the only successful basis in the long run for a new brand is to make something better than anyone else can.”

To note though, perfection is too much to ask. Even the best products could be developed better – especially, with technology developing at a faster rate than ever. 

Mulling over the little anecdote I told above, the question that I think many have in mind is: Could/should we have given that food joint a second chance? Perhaps – if only they communicated well enough their openness to feedback. 

Had they done that, maybe they would’ve won the loyalty of our family and their many other customers. Unfortunately, they didn’t – which, sadly, ultimately spelled their demise. 

(P.S. I know all of this should be common sense – but often, even the smartest of us can take common sense for granted!)

By Evan Tan

Evan Tan is a writer & communications professional based in Manila, Philippines.

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