Archive for the ‘Built to Love Lessons’ Category

Changing Emotions

January 12, 2011

When creating a product, it is important for a company to recognize emotion-based market segmentation. Customer segments can differ in terms of their emotions about the same product. Younger teenagers may see their first cell phone as a symbol of freedom and a step of independence away from their parents. As they grow older, a cell phone can make them feel connected to their friends and (eventually) family. Societal trends create segments as well. When SUVs were at the height of their popularity, many people wanted their vehicles to look and feel powerful. Now that environmental consciousness is an increasingly important value in society, the green segment is becoming large enough to make hybrids and electric cars viable for companies, as people want their cars to show that they are compassionate and caring.


“Amazon is Awesome”…that’s what people find themselves saying

October 20, 2010

Amazon has been and continues to be an amazingly successful and popular company.  As just one of many examples of Amazon’s success, its stock rose 17% from Jan 1 to September 30 of 2010 and 275% over the 10 years leading up to September 30 (NASDAQ went down 37% during that same period).  What has led Amazon to be such the retailing powerhouse?

Years ago, people pointed to Amazon’s success as an example of “pioneering advantage,” a company that benefited from being first-to-market as an online bookseller. Its having been an early Internet retailer (along with its unusual name) will have led to better brand recall, making Amazon a more likely starting point for consumers as they search for products online. And yet, brand recall can’t explain why people like Amazon so much.  Brand recall is simply an argument that Amazon is more convenient, not that people truly prefer Amazon to the point of blogging about its virtues.

Rather, Amazon is liked so much because it is built to love, so no wonder it is so successful. Despite the fact that it sells one of the largest product assortments anywhere, Amazon’s products are accessible to the user, for Amazon has found ways to feel like a small store where items can be easily found, and even found while people are sitting in their living room.  People can be confident that, if they order from Amazon, their order will arrive on time or even early. And they can trust that Amazon’s products will be packaged so well that damage is a non-issue. They also know that Amazon’s prices, shipping included, are reliably reasonable and are typically the lowest available.  So, a company customers can trust, find what they want where ever they are, and at the lowest price? No wonder Amazon is appreciated so much.

How to fall in love with a product

October 11, 2010

Recently our publisher, Berrett-Koehler, asked us to contribute to their blog by commenting on what it takes to fall in love with a product.  Naturally, we thought about what it takes to fall in love with a person, and what it takes to maintain a long, healthy and rewarding relationship.  Think through the sequence of experiences people have when falling in love, and see how that sequence actually plays out for products:


Casual interactions (otherwise known as dating)

At the outset of any relationship, certain details can get things started, or prevent them from getting going.  Looks, for example; but of course it goes beyond looks.  Each and every interaction of the potential customer with the product or service is a touchpoint, a point at which that potential customer may receive value.  Since the product’s appearance creates emotional takeaways for customers, whether planned or unplanned by the company, the design of each aspect of the product form should be intentional and calculated as a means to deliver specific and desired emotions.  The same is true with other points of interaction.


A courtship where initial attraction turns to love (the getting to know someone or some thing for more serious consideration)

If a customer is going to get serious, the product has to really deliver.  But it has to do more than deliver on a performance task.  The customer will really get serious when the product doesn’t just do the right things, but it makes them feel the right ways.  And feeling is what it takes for them to fall in love, which leads to…



Once engaged, people are attached. Once attached, people are engaged. Emotions reach us deeply, engaging us to respond. It is emotion that instigates people to tell others about the products that they own, creating word of mouth that is the most powerful marketing force in today’s networked marketplace. Brides show off their rings; engaged customers show off the products that they love.


Long term commitment… and satisfaction

In the committed relationship, one with daily interaction, positive (or negative) emotions are maintained and renewed with each experience, eventually outweighing those felt early in the relationship.  In the same way, product emotions are ongoing, substantiated and renewed with each product experience, and product emotions have the power to completely replace emotions surrounding the original purchase decision.  So unlike the emotions designed to get a quick sale, here today and gone tomorrow, product emotions are the “feel-good” aspect of the product, those that endure for the lifetime of product use and maintain loyalty.


Becomes an extension of who you are… and part of your identity

Just as there is a oneness in marriage, where each person becomes part of the other, captivating products become part of the customer’s identity, a badge of who they are.  Some people are iPhones, others are Blackberries.  Some are Starbucks, others are Dunkin’ Donuts.  It wouldn’t feel right to have it any other way.


Can’t see yourself happy without it

As people in love anticipate and expect their time to be spent together in order to be happy, so is the relationship between the happy consumer and his or her product.  People who fall in love with a product can’t see themselves without it.. providing strong impetus for eventual re-purchase of that product, as it wears.

The Berrett-Koehler post (and discussion) can be found at:


Changing the way we eat

September 20, 2010

The TED Conference is a fascinating yearly meeting of some of the world’s visible thinkers and doers. Every year, a TED Prize is awarded to one speaker, to help him or her carry out a project. This year, the prize was awarded to Jamie Oliver, a celebrity chef who is trying to change the way America eats. Oliver’s TED speech discusses how we need to fundamentally change how Americans, especially children, are being taught about food and nutrition.


Does it take a genius?

August 23, 2010

You may be thinking that it takes a genius like Steve Jobs to create the perfect blend of performance and emotion that is found in Apple products. But what is a genius?  A genius is someone who is capable of doing what everyone else doesn’t know how to do.  Of course, if your company had a process to create products that captivate customers, like your company has a process to create quality products, you would not need to rely on a genius, would you?  If you are seeking such a process, we suggest you begin with Built to Love.

What makes something Built to Love?

August 1, 2010

Think about your favorite product – the product that you couldn’t wait to buy, that you told your friends about. Whether your favorite product is software you use at home, a service provider you rely on at work, or something physical like your car, your favorite product has captured your attention and captivated you as a customer. There are thousands of companies out there that produce high quality and high performance products, but only a select few products and companies have been able to capture customers in this way. Why are some companies more successful than others in generating enthusiasm about their products? Built To Love, our new book, has the answer. Armed with case studies and the results of experiments, Built to Love demonstrates how your company can consistently create products that captivate your customers.