Electronic Products & Technology

What's love got to do with it? Plenty, because that's why we buy


Electronics CEL

Love is a powerful emotion. And emotion is fundamental to all that is human, including the products we enjoy - which is why leading companies do more than produce things that work better.

I love my family and friends, but I also “love” my iPad. Darn that Apple, they’ve done it again!
Just how do certain corporations make you desire their products so much? And how do some keep on repeating the trick?

The answer is they create captivating products that energize the marketplace and set the standard for what customers want and expect because their products and services address customers’ emotional needs. Their products and services are designed and built to be loved from the very start.

Now there’s a book that shows readers how to do this themselves.

Built To Love – Creating Products that Captivate Consumers by Peter Boatwright (left) and Jonathan Cagan, analyzes the product creation process from end-to-end.


The authors have worked with market leaders such as Apple, Bayer, International Truck, Mine Safety Appliances and many others. They’ve found that for companies to really connect with customers, emotions must be generated by a product itself, not simply tacked on through advertising.

They set out to prove the bottom-line value of product-driven emotion by analyzing the stock performance of companies that sell high-emotion products, drawing from studies that show people are willing to pay more for products with emotionally rich features.

“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,” the authors write.
In one example, the 2008 introduction Navistar’s LoneStar long-haul “big-rig” truck is examined.
“Truckers love chrome and LoneStar uses chrome elegantly and plentifully on the exterior, with chrome just about everywhere chrome can be.” Navistar also appointed the interior of the LoneStar “more like the cabin of a private jet.”

This departure from the bare-bones functional designs of its previous models was carefully crafted by Navistar, and had the desired result. There were plenty of pre-orders on the truck, and “truck drivers also stood in line at the truck’s introduction to have the LoneStar logo permanently tattooed to their arm without yet owning or even having driven the vehicle.”

After showing how authentic product emotion pays off, Boatwright and Cagan move on to how emotion can be broken down in to its core building blocks, how it is then used to develop new products and services, and how product touch points, in particular visual touch points, deliver those emotions.

Engaging case studies from a variety of industries, the book seeks to help readers understand how to integrate emotion into their products and services. Regardless of the nature of your business, Built to Love offers advice designed to help you gain loyal, even fanatical customers by going beyond mere efficiency and speaking to their deepest needs and wants.

“Obviously, most companies would want their products to rouse customers as successfully as LoneStar has. Rather than creating products that themselves captivate customers, many companies attempt to build interest through loyalty programs, catch campaigns, or other add-on programs.

“Odd as it may seem, it is quite common to attempt to engage customers by doing anything but changing the product itself!”

Peter Boatwright is associate professor of Marketing at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, with an appointment in Mechanical Engineering. 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.
Built to Love is published by Berrett-­Koehler Publishers, Inc. (http://www.builttolove.com/).


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