About the Author
Jonathan Cagan is the George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor in Mechanical Engineering, with appointments in the School of Design and Computer Science, at Carnegie Mellon University.
Read an Excerpt
Energizing the Marketplace
In today’s marketplace, there is a new kind of leading company. These leaders do not just produce good products. They produce captivating products that energize the marketplace and set the standard for what customers want and expect. To see if your firm is one of these new leading companies, think about your firm’s best product. Are customers excited by it, not just purchasing and using it, but also talking about it? Is there a hum in the marketplace about your product, where your product is the topic of media discussions and social media posts? If so, your company is one of today’s new leaders.
If, however, people find your product useful but not captivating, acceptable only because there is no better alternative, then there is no marketplace electricity; there is no love. Your product may provide the best performance or latest technology, but people lack enthusiasm. If they buy your product, it is out of necessity or unthinking habit. If this scenario describes your firm, then your customers would welcome some alternative to excite them, something to pull them out from the humdrum of ordinary good products. The difference between an ordinary product and a captivating product is emotion. When emotion flows in the marketplace, your product shines. When there is no emotion from the product, customers lack the enthusiasm and passion that launches a product to success.
For those of you who love using a particular product or service, you know the sheer pleasure you get from using it. You are aware that there are competing products that are similar in technology and performance, and others may wonder where your passion comes from. You know the enjoyment you derive from the product is real, that you are not a mindless victim of some marketing ploy. It is the product itself that captivates you, both by its performance and by how it actually makes you feel.
Seeing the impact and influence of the products from today’s leading firms, can others achieve similar results? More specifically, can your firm deliberately design products to be captivating? After extensive research, we have found that answer to be a clear “yes.” The answer lies in designing product emotions, namely, emotions evoked by the product itself.
People, your customers, have emotional desires as well as the need to perform tasks. Many firms know they need to stimulate emotions, but they attempt to create them artificially. Some companies will paint a misleading picture of their products, describing emotions that people don’t really feel when using the product. This short-term attempt to trick the customer into buying a product will fail in the long term, resulting in customer dissatisfaction and frustration.
We believe that the product itself must be designed from the start to evoke emotions that resonate deeply with the customer, resulting in passion in the marketplace and customer commitment to the company.
In short, the product must be built to love.
Built to Love
This is a book about emotion, about what customers desire from products as well as why certain products and companies successfully captivate the marketplace. We celebrate the joy that comes from owning, working with, or using exciting products.
This is also an analytical book, with studies to validate our insights, providing proof that emotion is the source of captivating, and profitable, products. Building on these insights, Built to Love is a practical book that shows how your company can create high-emotion, highly valued products. In sum, this book provides an argument and a how-to guide for how to make emotion flow from your product—from the ground up.
Emotion is fundamental to all that is human, including the products that we enjoy. Emotion fuels the satisfaction people feel when using a product and strengthens their desire to repurchase that product. It is emotion that instigates people to tell others about the products they own; indeed, word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing force in today’s networked marketplace.
You may be presuming that only certain products can stimulate emotions, consumer products such as fashion clothing and iPods, and not products like industrial gas lines, engineering software, robotic tools for manufacturing, and business services. We will show you that emotion-based opportunities exist for all products, from consumer to business-to-business products, from luxury goods to everyday commodities.
We found that product emotions are relevant to all kinds of physical products as well as to services, software, processes, and brands. All of these various kinds of products deliver emotions and are opportunities for emotion-driven profit, so we use the word “product” in the inclusive sense. The tools, methods, and arguments throughout Built to Love apply to the whole array of products. By analyzing examples of many types of products, this book formally and analytically demonstrates why emotion is such an important part of new product development, revealing how any company, small or large, can create innovations that customers must have.
You may believe that most companies are already using emotional appeals to stimulate purchase of whatever they are selling, whether cars or computers, tools or telephones. There is a difference between manipulating emotions to sell a product versus providing a product with emotional benefits that a customer truly values. Built to Love is not about emotional manipulation. It is about providing real value to customers by creating products that authentically provide emotional benefits.
Supported versus Associated Emotions
To evoke emotions such as confidence, safety, joy, pride, and other feelings, a firm may follow one of two paths, as shown in Figure I.1. One path is that of “supported emotions,” evoked by the product itself; we also refer to these as “product emotions.” For example, a sense of excitement, adventure, power, and passion are all supported by a well-designed sports car. To be highly valued by customers—to be built to love—supported emotions must be deliberately designed into the product. In the sports car, these emotions come from more than acceleration; they are also delivered through an aggressive vehicle stance, a loud muffler, and low-sitting minimalist seats that allow the car to look fast and the driver to feel the road.
The excitement of product emotions is not only found in sporty vehicles but can be built into any product, physical or otherwise, including consumer electronics, flexible pipe used for connecting natural gas lines, toys, nonprofit services, and many others, all explored in this book.
The second path is that of “associated emotions.” These are not evoked by the product itself but are superficially created through repeated associations with emotions distinct from the product. A tobacco company, for example, may suggest that its cigarettes will make consumers feel more masculine and self-confident. The cigarettes themselves do not create these feelings, but the company designs strong masculine images on billboards and in advertising to convince consumers to associate these cigarettes with feelings of power.
Unlike supported emotions, which are fulfilled by the product, associated emotions may be manipulative, unfulfilled claims intended to profit the firm while possibly harming the consumer. With tobacco companies, the result of using the product is not increased masculine strength for the smoker, but potentially debilitating weakness (or worse, death) from cancer.
FIGURE I. A Model of the Paths to Emotion. Supported emotions result in products built to love.
Associated emotions are not all manipulative. Some may merely exaggerate the supported emotions or provide fantasies to consumers in a way that is super-ficial but honest and open (like a frog that sings the name of a beer). Nonetheless, without supported emotions there can be no long-term satisfaction. There can be no love.
The first part of this book (Chapters 1–5) digs deeply into these classes of emotions and examines how high-emotion features impact the overall value of individual products through supported emotions. This is shown in products ranging from long-haul trucks to electric vehicles to the packaging of your iPod. We first explain the context of product emotion then scientifically analyze its profitability. One aspect of analysis is at the macrolevel of the firm. We introduce a stock index for high-emotion companies (as determined by consumers). Our analysis of historical returns shows that high-emotion companies outperform standard indices, even through a down economy. This first part of the book shows that emotion pays off.
Creating Products that Captivate Customers
Dell, HP, and Lenovo deliver cutting-edge technology at a good price. But these companies and their products are not clearly differentiated from each other. Apple stands out from the pack by delivering emotional experiences to a loyal customer base. As a result, their products—both physical and services— earn serious profit margins. Why aren’t more companies like Apple? Why don’t more companies offer not just products that get things done, but product emotions as well? Our answer is that most companies don’t understand that Apple (and Google and many other high-emotion firms) derive their success from emotion, by delivering products built to love.
FIGURE 2. Creating products that captivate customers.
The second part of the book (Chapters 6–10) introduces a method to identify relevant emotions for a given market, a way to specifically target those emotions, and a means to craft them into a strategy that drives future product development, as shown in Figure I.2. What’s most exciting is that we will introduce you to an actionable tool that will guide you through this process. We then show how to create emotional touchpoints, points of interaction between the product (or company) and the customer. Touchpoints are the means to deliver emotions to the customer. Case studies from the extremes of social action to raw technology drive home the benefits and depth of product emotions.
A Book Written for You
We are university professors who teach and research innovation, and we have developed a scientific basis for product emotion. As consultants to a wide variety of large and small business-to-business and consumer companies, we have applied our insights in technology, durable goods, transportation, packaged goods, medical devices, utility and software products, services, and brands. We have advised over 200 innovation teams and successfully guided companies in the development of high-emotion commercial products and product portfolio strategies.
Built to Love is a product of our experience. We have written this book because we have seen a vast and accessible opportunity for firms, an opportunity that many firms consistently overlook. Although products are designed to create value for their customers, and although people value emotions, firms often overlook how they can provide emotional value to their customers.
With this in mind, we have written Built to Love to be a practical guide to how companies can develop a strategy to create products that fulfill human value in the broadest sense. We show how to fulfill the needs and desires that people are seeking through the products they buy and use.
There may be several reasons why you are reading this book:
You may be responsible for the success of products in your firm. You get it: You understand the importance of product emotions, but those under you don’t. It’s just not the way they were trained. Or maybe those above you don’t get it, and you have found it frustrating when you have tried to justify your insights to those who don’t understand but make the decisions. Until now you have had no metrics or statistics to prove your point. This book will provide you with logical arguments and statistical proof that product emotion pays off. It will teach why and how. You can use this book to show others how Apple or Google, for example, continue to maintain such strong brands and customer loyalty. Built to Love will provide lots of examples of how emotion can be a truly powerful and lucrative force in your industry.
One important lesson is that success does not require creative genius (or luck). Built to Love provides a formal methodology that your company can follow to integrate emotion into your products.
Perhaps you have heard that there is substance to the idea of product emotion, and you are curious to find out more. You might be a marketer who has always thought that emotion is generated alongside but not from a finished product, as a way to get initial sales going. You might be an engineer or technologist who has yet to see how this kind of extra effort or “fluff” will make your cutting-edge technology any better. Built to Love provides proof that product emotion is real and that it can be lucrative if sincerely and authentically integrated into your products and brands.
You might be searching for a method to engender emotions for your products in your customers. You are seeking a means to integrate emotion into your product development process. Built to Love provides a method to develop an emotion-based strategy and to deliver that strategy in a cost-effective way.
It may be that you are just intrigued by the concept. Maybe you saw this book while walking through a bookstore or airport, or you heard about it from a friend. You might not be involved at all in the development of products but just interested in the idea of product emotion, or intrigued by how emotions can be designed, or wondering why you love your iPhone (or some other product) so much that you use it happily every day. We hope you will enjoy the discussions and case studies as we give you a peek at how products electrify the market.
We are going to journey through the marketplace of emotions, a journey that we ourselves have taken to write this book and have found to be intensely exciting. This isn’t a mere thrill ride; it’s a scientific journey into a world where products are built to love.
Table of ContentsForeword by Donna Sturgess
Introduction: Energizing the Marketplace
Chapter 1: Product Emotions
Chapter 2: The Profitability of Emotions
Chapter 3: The High Emotion Index: Stock Market Gains From Emotion
Chapter 4: Pathways to Emotion
Chapter 5: Supported Emotions: The Key to Today's Leading Products
Chapter 6: Product Emotion Identity
Chapter 7: The Emotion of Form And Touchpoints to Create It
Chapter 8: Meeting Societal Needs: Positive Roles for Emotion
Chapter 9: Emotion's Role in Technology Products
Chapter 10: Taking Action: Transform Your Products and Brands to Captive Customers
About the Authors