The many sides of quality

Dirk Ziems

The many sides of quality

What is quality?

What so we mean when speaking about quality?
From the psychologists’ perspective of Thomas Ebenfeld, many facets play a role.

Specify wishes, sensitivity, dialogue and critical ability.

Courteous, punctual, clean, open-minded, honest, always available.

Creative, surprising, rich in variety, reasonably.

As discussed, timely, in agreed price range.

Always up-to-date, competent, comprehensible, extensive.

„My“ painter, inspiring confidence, being there for me, recommendable.

Traditional company, always reliable.

Independent of order size, doing and enjoying everything.

She is beautiful, practical and verifiable. How much we are expecting from quality, Thomas Ebenfeld, psychologist and Co-Founder and Shareholder by concept m knows.

"On what we can agree on the term “quality”, Mr. Ebenfeld?
In principle: That word is one of a few words in the German language, which is completely positive. We don’t have any ulterior motives when talking about “quality”. It’s always about something good, trustworthy. If customers decide on “quality”, it points out that they want to finish or forget a difficult topic. According to “one worry less”.

But that’s all about the agreement?
The term “quality” is not about uniformity! It’s about a principle, a predicate, a phenomenon with a lot of facets and diverse psychologic functionalities in the everyday life. Everyone has different aspects which are more important than for the other person. Quality is a key concept for the most of our customers. Regarding to that, we’ve researched and defined the six basic dimensions of quality in a study. That helps to aim position or highlight a product advantage.

Isn’t quality tantamount with tradition, durability, high price?
Not only, these are just aspects. We’ve summarised it in „stabilizing, giving secure quality“. That means something traditional, well-tried, constructed carefully. The company only uses selected resources, it has in-depth knowledge, based on his tradition. Products or services can rightly be more expensive because they raise the customers quality of life. The keywords for painter companies are “diligence” and “competence”. Of course, safety matters too. And reliability: “I can count on that company, what they do is persistent and stable.”

Black or white – either quality or not?
It’s not all about either – or, the issue is to sound out the term of quality in all their depth. On the other hand, it’s right, that quality helps to not miss the boat. We call it “promoting development, carrying on quality”. This dimension is about offers, which are future security oriented. They assure that the consumer does not get stuck in the here and now. Consumers expect from painter companies, that they know what will happen. They must to be trendy. That does not only apply for the latest high-tech materials, but also for future issues like recycling, sustainability, energy conservation. According to that quality dimension of the service company, customers are able to develop themselves or being well prepared for any eventualities.

Exciting! Until now we have two dimensions …
… and come to a third, the “especially, marking quality”. Here, the face and image of a brand should rub off on the consumers. The product for example is especially exquisite and exclusive, regional or fair traded – definitely something else than “No name” or “08/15”. The psychological functionality is important for a lot of consumers. They see themselves as an expert. That’s why they for example can have a preference for shorten, seasonable offers like Mövenpicks “Ice of the year”. By highlighting the goodness of that offer, you can gain customers with that definition of quality. Noble gold in packaging for example, or emphasize the masterly qualification from the painter company, trainings, references, recommendations.

I’m special cause I can afford painter X?
Correct. On the other hand: Humans don’t want to differentiate themselves too much from others otherwise they’ll be possibly alone at the end. That’s why “socially integrated quality” is a fourth dimension. Here, phenomena like Facebook take a role. What do my friends say, who recommended what, everyone is talking about what? Is it still allowed to use woodchip wallpaper for your walls? Is linoleum the new laminate? The quality of a company is also shown by knowing about what “everyone” agrees. The company knows the consensus, the mainstream. He is not over the top and comes without corners and edges. With a specific purchase decision, a one is identifiable for like-minded people – that can also be smaller groups, which one wants to belong to. Fans of musical styles or soccer clubs are the most obvious example. This extends to the desire of uniformity. Therefore a painter company must know the extreme as well as the broad consensus.

Isn't design a topic, too?
Of course, yes. From a psychological point, we step into the field of “ideal”. Design and functionality move to the fore when quality means something ideal, perfect, unassailable, which gives reliability and makes me special due to my choice. We call it the “aesthetic and functional quality”. Spontaneous in mind brand like Apple with their smooth, unresisting surface, pulled through the last element of the package. In many cases, it's about perfection. For example, drop all disturbing. Or create a product, to handle it as easy as possible. In this dimension, playful takes place, too. Things which makes Life more beautiful - this can also be “shabby chic” or a Buddha statue in the garden.

Let’s go to the sixth dimension. Is it the opposite of the fifth?
No. As said before, in our study it’s not about uncovering differences. We represent the six dimensions graphically in form from the hexagon. One thing is intertwined with another here. The transitions are fluid. Every side presents another aspect. The sixth dimension is titled demonstrably, verifiable, resisting quality. Quality must prove itself more than ever: with tests, guarantees, personal comparisons. Certificates and stamps document the goodness of services. To keep that in mind is highly important, also for painter companies.

Mister Ebenfeld, thank you for the interview.“


For further information please contact:

Thomas Ebenfeld
Co-Founder and Shareholder

Dirk Ziems
Dirk Ziems ist Experte für tiefenpsychologisches Marketing und berät auf Basis von Markt-, Medien- und Kulturforschung weltweit Unternehmen und Konzerne in zahlreichen Branchen und Ländern. Als Mitbegründer der Global Research Boutique Concept M und der Marketingberatung Flying Elephant begleitet er Themen wie die Adaption von Erfolgsprodukten in neuen kulturellen Kontexten, das tiefe Verständnis neuer Konsumgenerationen in China und USA, die Transformation der Werbekommunikation in der neuen digitalen Medienwelt oder die Neuorientierung der Brands in Post-Corona-Zeiten. Dirk Ziems ist auch als Gastdozent an verschiedenen Universitäten tätig.

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