Feature Article /
Mar 30, 2018

Editor's Note: Value Proposition

PRODUCTS Editor-in-Chief Nigel F. Maynard talks brand quality in reliability for the Windows + Doors issue.

PRODUCTS Editor-in-Chief Nigel F. Maynard talks brand quality in reliability for the Windows + Doors issue.

Most manufacturers talk a good marketing game, touting their brands with buzzwords such as “quality,” “excellence,” and “innovation.” But they can’t all be telling the truth.

It is true that some brands have a strong reputation for producing highquality merchandise. Their products are well-designed and well-built, they (seemingly) last forever, the company offers excellent customer support, and the brand has a strong following as a result.

Other companies—not so much. To use a somewhat gauche turn of phrase, some brands are hacks. Their products are poorly designed and their quality is suspect, yet these brands are still viable and in little danger of bankruptcy.

I recently learned that even big, well-known brands can disappoint, and it was quite an eye-opener.

During my recent home remodel, I had my contractor buy some wood interior doors from a well-known company that I’ve been covering for many years. But when the slabs were delivered to the site, I was shocked by the poor quality: delaminating veneers, separating joints, and an overall unpolished look. I had my contractor immediately return the doors.

Windows and doors are high-ticket items and they’re important pieces of the building envelope. It’s one thing for a builder to use an inferior faucet, but a cheap window or exterior door can lead to a world of problems for homeowners.

Covering the building products industry for almost 20 years, I’ve always wondered whether it matters if a company produces mediocre products, so long as they hit the right price point. There are many such companies in existence, so I haven’t reached a conclusion.

Companies that compete on price will always have customers who are working with small budgets. But what does it mean if the quality is low? More importantly, do you want your brand to be known for its high quality or its affordability?


This story originally ran in the March/April 2018 issue of PRODUCTS magazine. See the print version here.