Powerful emotional experiences

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Do you know what your consumers want most?

If you sell cars and you think they just want a car, you’re missing a lot.

What your consumers want most is to have a powerful emotional experience. It’s why we watch movies, drive cars, get married, have families, read books, go skydiving and, yes, use apps and websites. It’s why we do anything.

Getting a car is just a stepping stone to the emotional experience of freedom and independence.

Getting health insurance is just a stepping stone to the emotional experience of safety and security.

Installing Facebook on your phone isn’t just to install Facebook, but an effort to feel included and important.

This might seem obvious, but it’s often forgotten. Too often, we lose sight of the overarching emotional goal. We have emotional reasons for doing (or not doing) what we do, whether we’re aware of them or not.

Look at your product and your audience. What practical needs are users trying to fill? Now, look even closer. What high-level emotional need must your user satisfy? What powerful emotional experience are you promising? Does your product or service match the powerful emotional experience the consumer wants and/or needs?

When you do your user research (you are doing user research, right?) your users often can’t tell you what they need. But by listening to and observing them, you can start to get a picture of those elusive emotional needs. Ask them what they are trying to achieve, follow up with why (several times!). Get to the heart of the matter. Now, dig into their actual behavior. Watch what they click on, what they buy, what content they spend the most time on. Where do the attitudes and the behaviors match? Where do they differ?

Once you understand the product and your users, you can start working toward creating that powerful emotional experience that will satisfy their core emotional needs. And once you discover those core emotional needs, you can set them as your northern star, your true north.

BMW says, “We don’t design cars, we create feelings.” If you find that your product or service fills no core emotional need and provides no desired powerful emotional experience, then you should either find something better to sell or you should improve your product.

Don’t aspire to just meet basic needs; create powerful emotional experiences and your consumers will be more than happy to pay for them.

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September 20, 2019by Thomas Larsen

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