Product essentials: Emotional appeal and powerful words

Great products create emotional attachments. Designers who recognise this and who create that customer bond are likely to have a success on their hands. Those products are easy to market because customers (or users) respond more readily to product benefits than to product features.

Neglecting this key requirement during the product definition phase leaves too much for the marketing team to do, and creates unrealistic expectations that they will somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat.



[Photo credit McLaren]

The organisers of Formula 1 are being reminded this year of the importance of emotion in their sport. Changes introduced for the 2014 season include smaller engines (down from 2.4 litre V8 to 1.6 litre V6) and turbochargers. As a result the cars are much quieter than in previous years and the fans are not happy. Some have likened the sound to that of a hairdryer, or even a golf cart. Indeed, even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has recognised this and declared that further changes are needed in order to maintain the attraction of the sport.

The power is there and the technology is there but the excitement, which sells tickets has been drained out of the sport” is typical of the many hundreds of comments which were posted by fans after the first two races of the season. Despite all the technology evident in the cars, the racing just doesn’t feel as exciting.

Even when the emotional attachment is there, it’s crucial that the message is properly conveyed.

I’m no petrolhead, but the following video clip beautifully demonstrates the appeal of sound, and the simple caption at the end – “Evolution on the outside; Revolution on the inside” – is only really needed to emphasise its familiar external form. Note: watch the clip with your audio set to max volume!


Sell the sizzle, not the sausage” is a mouth-watering explanation of the old maxim “features tell; benefits sell“. It recognises that the features of a sausage are tough to market; the sizzle is altogether easier. Indeed it almost sells itself, and it is one of the factors often credited with tempting vegetarians to stray from their normal diet.

The power of words

This short clip demonstrates how a simple message can become so much more powerful by using different words.


What do you think? Please comment below and subscribe to this blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s