Quality is a word that gets thrown around a lot.
It’s usually used to say that something is better than another thing, as in, “we have higher quality components,” or “we only use the highest quality ingredients.” What does that really mean and how should we interpret those words when we come across them in a marketing claim? Turns out, there are two definitions for quality that I’d like to talk about today:
- The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something
- A distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something
Most of the time, I think companies use the first definition. I mean, who wouldn’t want a high degree of excellence in the things they buy and use? I love that definition for it’s versatility but it’s just so damn vague. I mean, what is excellence anyway, and more importantly, how do you measure it? I’m pretty sure the person who typically writes those words doesn’t ever mean for that excellence to be measured in any meaningful way. It’s not a useless word, but it certainly isn’t very helpful.
Here at Sartée Bikes, we rarely use the Q word because it just doesn’t hold a lot of weight. If a component is designed to be more durable than most others, we just say “it’s more durable.” If something we make costs more because of the way it’s made, we don’t say “it’s higher quality” in order to justify the extra expense. In general, we strive to be as plain with our language as possible. If we find ourselves using the word “quality” to describe something, it’s probably because we didn’t have anything more useful to say in the first place!
So the next time you hear someone (including us) use the word “quality,” we challenge you to ask what quality they’re really referring to. This is the second definition of quality, and probably the original one. Quality of durability, quality of performance, quality of repairability, quality of service. These are the qualities that we strive to highlight in our bikes and with our company. But usually we’ll just leave off the Q-word and get right to the point!
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