Creating a new category. The Holy Grail of Innovation. The Holy Grail of entrepreneurs. It’s when you can create a new category that you command the skies. Think of the iPad. Is it a new category?
It is. But not because people think it is, but because Apple defined it as such. Experts characterized the iPad as a tablet, but customers did not. That’s all that matters.
Other examples of category creation exist. For example Gatorade created the sports drink category. Chrysler created the minivan. Toyota created the Prius. Each had a good amount of time before any competitor entered the space.
So why is it that you should embrace creating new categories?…
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 review of the McLaren F1.
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?
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 Super Bike Magazine describes how the new Kawasaki ZX-10R ‘Ninja’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?