People buy change- they don’t buy products.

by | May 10, 2018 | Creating Emotional Connection

There is a saying in marketing circles that says: “People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.” In other words people don’t buy your products. What they buy really is change. They buy the your product promises.

The BIG question Brand Marketers and packaging designers must be very clear on is: What are we promising? What is the promise of this product?

People buy change – Did you really buy an iPod?

Did you really buy an iPod? Think about when Apple first got into the MP3 market with the iPod.  What was so different about the iPod that made it take off like the rocket ship it became? Clearly the marketing team under Jobs captured the above sentiment when they created the“1,000 songs in your pocket” tag line.

Whist Apple’s competitors were focused on the technical features of the product, “1GB storage” etc, the iPod made you a better version of yourself with 1000 songs in your pocket. People didn’t buy an MP3, they bought the change your the iPod promised.

  • People don’t buy products. People bought the promise of over a thousand songs in their pocket.
  • People don’t buy products. They bought the promise of having their own personal radio station with no ads right at their finger tips.
  • People don’t buy products. They bought the promise of the benefits of all the iPod offered.

Whilst everyone else was promoting the “features” of their MP3’s, Apple was promoting just the single most important BENEFIT.People buy change. They buy the promise of the change your product offers.

People buy change – We buy emotionally justifying our purchase with logic.

Because we know that people buy change, savvy Brand marketers and package designers focus on the product benefits rather than features. The change promised by your product. This ties in with age old sales mantra that tells sales people that people don’t by features they buy benefits. People want a 1/4 inch hole, not a 1/4 inch drill bit. Benefits are emotional. Benefits are the changes your product promises. What is your product promising?

Instead of the product pack telling the target consumer, “Here’s what our product can do”, effective packaging design focusses on the “Here’s what you can do with our product.” Two very different product appeals. One connects emotionally and the other is simply a “me too.

One version focuses on the “what”, whilst the other focuses on the “why.” Why is the promise of the change. People buy the change your product offering promises.

Features = “what” of your product.

Benefits = “why” behind the feature.

In other words your customers are buying the change promised by your product and the product pack. Customers make purchasing decisions at the shelf because they carefully considered and understand the features and ingredients listed on the pack, right? Wrong!

People buy change – Decisions are emotional, not logical.

People don’t buy products. Consumers buy and make purchase decisions as a result of a change in their emotional state when engaging with the product. They are buying into the change as promised by your product. Of course information may impact that emotional state. However its the emotion that’s important when buying, not the information! It’s the changes your product promises that emotionally connect with the customer.

That’s what they are buying. People buy change.

In sales training we are taught that there are six emotions that need to be tapped to make a sale. All of them have to do with the the change your product promises. It’s these very same emotional triggers that effective packaging design is predicated upon.

1. Greed. “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”

2. Fear. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m lose out”

3. Contribution “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”

4. Envy. “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”

5. Pride. “If I make a decision now, I will look smart.”

6. Shame. “If I don’t make a decision now, I will look stupid.”

Do you design for emotional connection?

People don’t buy products. For your packs to engage and create an emotional connection with your target consumer, they either need to creates or augments one or more of the above emotional states. If you buy this product you are going to benefit in the following ways..

Benefits are the promises of a better future – a moving towards and a moving away from your current reality. 

The bottom line is ….When enough of these emotions have been “pinged” within the customer, buying becomes a fait accompli.

Every product is made more valuable when its benefits are presented against the backdrop of the consumer’s current problem… situation… need. Effective design campaigns are able to show contrast between what the consumers life looks like now whilst their problem still exists… and, most importantly what their life will look like once they buy your product.

The key for Brand Marketers and packaging designers is to carefully select which emotional state to focus on. The desired state is dependant on the target customer’s personality and the value proposition that will resonate most with them.

The emotional lever you’ll be pulling MUST TIE IN with the change your product promises them.

Just in case you haven’t got it already!!! People are looking for and want to buy change. Specifically the change they believe your product will provide for them.