Time is ripe for a new type of business, a new class altogether
A class that focuses on delivering an emotional response to consumers, on meeting an emotional need. Professionally marketed products focus on the benefits rather than the features while elite marketeers focus deeper on the emotional benefit. But what if a new class of firm existed, one that focused not on the product’s benefit, but on the clients emotional need. This is product development from deep inside the human psyche.
I’m calling this new class of firms Emotion Product Developers. Now don’t get confused with ’emotional’ product developers, ie someone who tears up when they talk to you about their product, I’ve seen that and it freaks me out a little. What I’m talking about is taking an underlying human emotional need and building a business around meeting that need.
In fact, there’s a number of firms that fly close to this already by focusing on an emotional brand attribute. Take Virgin, a classic challenger brand, also known as a rebel brand. They develop a cult following not for the product itself but for what they stand for. Delivering emotional value doesn’t need to be on a global scale, we can all do it everyday.
Take the local financial planning firm I stepped into last week, Prominent Financial Services in Adelaide, South Australia. Once through the door I was greeted by Vicky, the Director of First Impressions. Vicky came around from the counter and greeted me by name (I’d never met her before) before offering me a coffee from a coffee menu. I sat down, the music was gentle, the colours were relaxing and positive imagery came up on a nearby monitor talking about the team in the firm.
By the time I met with the firms Director, Christine Swanson I was relaxed and my coffee was there on a beautiful tray on the table in front of us. I felt comfortable, I felt like I meant something to this organisation, I felt special and certainly valued.
How many of us want to feel like that all the time? Why is it that feeling valued on a personal level is rare in business? How about your local barista who knows your name and prepares your coffee when you walk in? The length of time it takes for them to learn your coffee order is proportional to how special you feel. Let’s face it we all want to feel something, we all have emotions.
Emotion Product Developers will be firms of the future that focus on different ways to meet your emotional needs and will develop a family of products/services that help satisfy your emotions. It’s not such a far stretch from where we are today with one exception – most firms today start with the business idea first and then retro-fit an emotion to an existing product.
Starting with an emotional focus provides a unique platform for innovation. When you’re not constrained by an existing product or service but by an underlying emotional need there are an infinite number of paths to explore. In this process, you’re actually focusing entirely on the consumer, you’re not limited by your resources but by their needs.
Now if Prominent Financial Services can make you feel calm when making life-changing investment decisions then what could they do for dentistry, real estate, childcare? Could Prominent become an emotion product superbrand focusing on ‘calm’ as a key emotion? What emotion could you start with? What space can you own? Next time you experience a produce or service, think about the emotional value you’re receiving. What emotion do your consumers experience? Own it!