“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.

Love The Product? Buy the Stock…

October 11, 2010

Jon was on thestreet.com again.  This time on a video: “Love The Product?  Buy the Stock.”  Check it out here.

 

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…

 

Engagement

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: http://bklists.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-think-i-love-you.html

 

Can you Love Vacuuming?

October 4, 2010

Emotional attachments to products can help customers turn mundane tasks into exciting experiences. For example, many people have become emotionally attached to their Roombas, those motorized, robotic vacuum cleaners that vacuum the rooms for you. Some customers have even given names to their Roombas, feeling attachment to the machine much like a pet. Even though Roombas don’t always work well and may even require customers to rearrange their furniture to better accommodate it, people are still very attached to the product. The Roomba makes people feel excited about vacuuming not only because it takes the chore out of their hands and into the hands of technology, but because it is fun. This emotional attachment to the Roomba allows users to forgive some of the technological imperfections in the product. Put differently, customers find so much joy in the Roobmas that they willingly trade off emotion for function.  And as a result, Roomba owners become spokespeople for the product, providing iRobot (the manufacturer) the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing.

For more information on the Roomba and product emotions check out: http://www.adaptivepath.com/blog/2007/09/18/a-roomba-is-one-of-my-favorite-things/

Interview on The Real Story from thestreet.com

October 2, 2010

On October 1, Jon was interviewed about Built to Love by Gregg Greenberg on the Real Story podcast from thestreet.com.  You can hear it by going to http://www.thestreet.com/podcasts/real-story.html and selecting the October 1, 2010 story.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Built to Love official publication today

September 13, 2010

We are pleased that Built to Love was officially released by Berrett-Koehler today. If you don’t have a copy yet you can find it in some local stores or your favorite online retailer.

Another winning year for Southwest

September 13, 2010

People do not often associate positive emotions with air travel.  The ever-longer list of fees isn’t helping matters, either.  Fees for each bag, fees to sit in one row instead of a another, fees to sit on an aisle instead of the middle, …. Then after the fees, customers experience long lines, cancelled flights and cramped cabins, increasing customers’ frustration and disappointment.

Southwest Airlines must be smiling about the way competitors are handling themselves, making customers’ lives more uncomfortable in order to squeeze out a few more dollars here and there.   Read the rest of this entry »

Built to Love on iBookstore

September 6, 2010

Built to Love on the iBookstore

We were pleased to be featured in the iBookstore Business section this past week!

Oil Spill’s Impact on Vehicle Purchases

September 6, 2010

The BP oil spill in the Gulf is one more factor contributing to people’s increasing frustration with the reliance on oil.  That frustration is now spreading into how customers purchase their products, including their cars.  People are lining up to be one of the first to own an all-electric vehicle despite there being a lack of infrastructure for charging the car away from home and despite the hassle that will thus entail for these lead users.  And yet, the electric vehicle is the ideal solution to resolve the frustration, for it Read the rest of this entry »