Benefit vs. Emotion

Benefit vs. Emotion


You sell raincoats.

They’re the best on the market, really. With a durable double zip and a hood that cinches with finesse, you don’t fear the rain when wearing one—the rain fears you.

But despite all the nifty features and benefits, despite the money poured into strategy and placement and pleading, despite the testimonials that your raincoats are the be all and end all of raincoats from now until kingdom come AMEN, you can’t get a solid hold in your market. The moment a competitor unrolls a new coat with even the slightest of design tweaks, all whom pledged allegiance to your product have jumped ships. Forget your zippers and hoods, how do you compete against a raincoat that uses energy from falling rain to heat the inner lining?

Consumers have head knowledge that your product is tops. But without heart knowledge, you’re dead in the water.

Benefits don’t sell, at least not long-term. Emotions do. Dig past what your raincoat can offer your customer and tap into what it can make them feel. If the only answer is “dry,” that’s head knowledge that comes with superior product features. You’re only superior, however, until your competition one-ups you with their new feature. If you root yourself in an emotion—focus on how the consumer feels and connects with your brand—you’ve got a tactic that can weather any competitor’s new face-value features.

A consumer might wear your coat and stay dry. But what keeps him warm (and brand loyal) is an old memory of dad zipping him up in your coat before zooming onto the field for a drizzly soccer game. He can buy any rain jacket, but he’ll invest in yours when it covers him in nostalgia and TLC.

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