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Laser focused products are more emotional

steve jobs

This post isn’t about Steve Jobs, it’s about emotion and how to create it with your product.

When I was a kid I would spend endless hours reading magazines at supermarkets or bookstores. From PC Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Game Pro, National Geographic, Road & Track, SLAM, you name it. At one point I had subscriptions to 15 different magazines that I got in the mail, my mom wasn’t too happy about it. And she also wasn’t happy because I kept them all well after I read them.

Out of all the magazines I read, the one’s I look more forward to reading were the ones about cars. I just loved (and still do) reading Road & Track’s car reviews because of how they described their car experience, I can still remember some of the words used in the .

Words like: ‘staggering power’ when pushing the accelerator, ‘stratospheric’ when talking about horsepower, ‘opera-esque’ when describing the sound of the engine, ‘astonishing’ when describing the car…you get the picture. So what’s the big deal? Well the fact that I’m telling you about it today and remember it is telling. Emotions are hard to forget and even though I’ve never driven these cars, the vivid descriptions make me feel as though I almost did.

I know what you’re thinking, we already know benefits trump features. Yup, but how?

Focus.

Jeremy Clarkson, host of Top Gear, is a like a little kid when talking about cars. It’s all emotion. Even if you aren’t a car fanatic you’ll love them after hearing Clarkson, just like in the video below where he drives the Ferrari Enzo. Tell me it doesn’t get your blood moving?

Did you notice how he mentions the word ‘focus’ to the describe how the car’s interior doesn’t distract you from driving? If you own and iPod, iPhone or iPad then you know what I mean. Steve Jobs is the master at creating emotions for Apple products. He makes it sound so genuine because his products satisfy him. So when he gives a keynote speech, he’s like a little kid talking to you about his new toy. Emotional!

Google did the same thing with Chrome. It’s laser focused on enabling us to browse the web faster. The user interface has only what’s necessary to browse and it makes you almost feel like the browser isn’t even there. That’s focus!

Another example I’ll give you to chew on is how describes how the new makes it’s driver feel: confident. Confident that you can get the best lap times and win the race. That’s what they really care about.

And with that last paragraph I get to the intent of this post: Focused products are more emotional. People don’t care about your products features, they care about what it does for them. And the way to do that is by making your product laser focused on satisfying that job.

In the Enzo’s case the job is driving, in the iPod’s case it’s carrying all your music in your pocket. They eliminated all the things that can ‘distract’ from satisfying that job.

Thoughts? Do you think products that are laser focused on satisfying a specific job more emotional?

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  • Kevin Mcfarthing

    Excellent article, Jorge. The way you wrote this blog also describes another emotion – passion. As somebody who spent the last 20 years working with consumer brands, I know that the more passion and emotion a consumer feels for the brand, the higher the loyalty and the higher the brand equity. It’s a constant challenge to maintain and build that equity, particularly through innovation. Emotional brands truly involve the consumer. It’s the principle behind http://www.lovemarks.com/.

    The laser focus on what the brand really means stops it going into areas which make no sense. A good example is Dove for Men, I think they have lost the laser focus on what Dove means to women, and will damage the brand in the longer term.

    Kevin

    • http://game-changer.net Jorge Barba

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks. As you know, this is not a new idea. But it’s overlooked more and not taken into consideration when creating the product and then marketing it. I truly believe that focused products, such as the examples I used, are easier to empathize with because on that focus to satisfy that task.

      What are your thoughts on the jobs to be done concept from Strategyn? Would love to know what you think. It seems to that also gets overlooked.

      Thanks again,

      Jorge

      • Kevin Mcfarthing

        Hi Jorge,

        I like the Strategyn approach, although the rationale is exaggerated. It isn’t as simplistic as idea-driven or needs-driven.

        Having spent a long time in consumer products, I know that the industry focuses on the consumer, aims to identify needs, and then – and only then – tries to generate ideas. There is almost an obsession with consumer habits, thoughts, practices etc.

        One important word missing from the Strategyn approach is insight. Articulating a consumer insight – a profound understanding of a consumer thought or need, which gets you deep into their head – should have the consumer responding with a resounding “yes”. Then you start to get creative.

        Looking at jobs to be done is a reasonable approach, although it seems overly analytical, and may miss some of the emotional aspects you so rightly describe in your original post. So, net net, I think the Strategyn approach overall is good, and would help companies who are stuck in a technology driven approach to innovation, although there are other ways to achieve the same objective.

        Thanks

        Kevin

        • http://game-changer.net Jorge Barba

          Hi Kevin (@innovationfixer),

          Interesting that your thoughts match mine. I’m of the insight approach, an undeniable truth gives you complete clarity. Like you I think the jobs to be done approach seems simplistic but it’s not, the analysis is prioritized over understanding emotions. That’s why I like the approach IDEO takes, anybody can pick it up rather quickly because it focuses on empathy which uncovers the deep insights.

          Thanks for taking the time to answer and very much like exchanging thoughts with you.

          Cheers,

          Jorge