The Power of Feelings

In our last blog we talked about the first two elements for the Value Triad: the Job to Be Done and the Effort involved. These form the foundation of perceived value. However they are not the whole picture, because how something makes us feel has a massive impact on how valuable we believe it to be.

More than just a job to be done

As I wrote previously, to many people a drill is just a way of making holes in the wall. This is always the definition of the Job to be Done, and for many people it will remain the most important part of the value triad. However for others there are other, less tangible values to owning an impressive power tool. In simple terms: it makes them feel good. There may be a sense of pride in its masculine strength, or pride in the shiny new possession that others will envy.

What drives us?

Our emotions are driven by our needs, in particular our social needs. Put simply we are driven to feel certain things and we will seek out the opportunities, experiences and products that we believe will elicit those feelings. So when we want to feel a little bit more manly and powerful, we might look for some new power tools that can allow us to feel exactly that. Therefore beyond the job that it does, a product also elicits certain emotions, based on its cultural meaning and this will affect how valuable it is. We can think of these needs as long-term outcomes that we want to achieve: we want to feel safe, so we choose insurance. We want to feel close to other people, so we get high speed broadband that will allow us to Skype.

How does your car make you feel?

The same product can of course elicit different emotions in different people. For example I may drive my 4×4 because it makes me feel safe that I am high up, provides a clear view of the road and makes me feel confident that I can cope with poor weather. Someone else may appreciate the fact that their 4×4 can take them to places that no-one else can get to, allowing them to pursue their adventure sports. Finally a third person may appreciate the same car as a symbol of their success and status: knowing that others will look at them with appreciation or envy.

Emotional payoffs

What is of course interesting is that for many of the things we buy, the emotional payoff will be significantly more important in helping us choose a brand than the job to be done or effort put into it. For most people it’s the satisfaction enjoyed in the emotional component of the value equation that makes the difference. After all, most cars will take us from A to B safely and reliably, it’s how we feel before, during and after that journey that really counts.

So it is vitally important that we understand what emotions different groups of customers want to feel, and whether they are getting that fulfilled by us, or whether they feel that the same emotion would be better met through a competitor.

Getting social means getting personal

Are you in charge of your brand’s emotions or are you leaving that to chance? What personality types and preferences are attracted to your brand and value propositions? If you have doubts about how to answer these questions then you’re going to find it hard to design and target value for customers who believe  getting social means
 getting personal.


Gareth English




Audi Digital Showroom Concept


Audi launches first digital showroom in London

Earlier this week I spent a couple of hours at the launch of Audi’s first digital showroom,  Audi City London. It’s located in the heart of the West End on Piccadilly, almost directly opposite the Ritz at Green Park. One of 20 planned worldwide – the next is Audi City Shanghai. It’s worth taking a look if you’re interested in how car manufacturers are interpreting digital.

One stop shop for experiencing the brand

Audi say, “This new retail format brings us even closer to our customers – geographically, of course, but first and foremost in terms of the quality of our relationship. Audi City offers new freedom for tailor-made services and an even more individual contact with the customer”. “A one stop shop for experiencing the brand”, said Peter Schwarzenbauer head of sales and marketing.

Bigger is better

This is a big step forward for a car manufacturer. And the idea of using digital to provide a more personal and immersive showroom experience is a good one. But it really doesn’t go far enough as essentially it’s a car configurator with a life sized screen. There was nothing about what the brand believes in and nothing that encouraged me to get more involved with the brand at an emotional level.

The human touch?

Nice try Audi and a big thumbs up for being the first to make a move in the right direction. Yes the product is important, it’s at the centre of every customer experience but customers have other needs that are social/emotional driving our involvement with products and brands. Those needs also have to be satisfied if brands want customers to move from users of product to advocates and co-creators of value.

Environments like Audi City need to be more about how products fit into our lives including our psychological needs. Brands mean more to us when they become inseparably intertwined with our sense of self and the stories that describe our lives real or imagined.

Think, See & Do

Think personal, think social, think feedback, think involvement, think digital, and think real. See Nike, see Apple, see Disney, see The Science Museum, and see the Tate Gallery. With these sorts of experiences in mind, Audi City could become a real game changer in the car world, but they need to act soon if they want to retain their advantage.


Tom Penney

Why people buy drills, watches, cars and other things



In our last blog we introduced the idea of  the Value Triad. This time we’ll begin to look at it in a little more detail. The first elements that we will look at are the Job To Be Done and the Effort involved.

Jobs To Be Done - Buying holes in the wall

Products and Services are all about fulfilling a purpose. We tend to like products more when they fulfil that purpose as simply as possible.

Sometimes the job to be done is different to what we might think. For example when most people buy a drill, what they are really buying is a hole in their wall: that is the job to be done, the big bit of plastic and metal they hold is simply how that job gets done. Other examples of this include cars that get you from a to b without breaking down, bread that makes good sandwiches, watches that keep good time and trains that arrive on schedule.

Key to getting this area right involves understanding what your customers are really using your service or product for, and whether it really fulfils those needs at the most basic level.

Effort – Taking the easy route

OK, so I want my new drill to do the job it’s supposed to do: drilling holes. However I want to expend the least possible effort to achieve this value. So a drill that is really intuitive to use will be of greater value. What about a drill that is delivered to my house rather than having to go out and pick it up? A very similar looking drill could achieve more value that way.

With this in mind, mistakes and problems can be seen as eroding value. The more I have to complain to get the level of service I’m looking for, then the lower my overall perception of value. So if we can be easy to do business with and make it easy to get the maximum value from our products and services, then our clients will be happier.

Customer Perception – Value is not fixed

The key lesson here is that a customer’s perception of value is not fixed at the point where they pay their money: it will be greatly affected by what happens when they get home. And their perception of value is what is going to affect whether and how they will recommend, advocate or participate with your brand.

In the next blog we will talk a little more about some of the other purposes that our purchases fulfil beyond the job to be done: e.g. more reasons why people buy drills, watches and cars.


Gareth English