Tag Archives: product emotion

Let’s get emotional!

22 Jan

If you can’t feel it, you won’t want it!


I just read Built To Love: Creating Products that Captivate Customers (by Peter Boatwright & Jonathan Cagan), which said,

“…as consumers, our responses to rational features account for only 15% of all the decision we make. The rest of the decision process operates subconsciously, where emotions dominate. The result of the traditional marketing approach is that customers experience a “sense” gap.”

Elsewhere, Emotional Design (by Donald Norman) talks about how the emotional aspect of decision-making is absolutely critical and functional in our everyday lives, otherwise when faced with a wide spectrum of choices and all rational attributes weighing in equally on every side, we’ll be crippled to decide on which option we’ll prefer. Yaaaay hoorah for all die-hard shoppers – now even scientists agree with your impulse buys at the great once-in-a-lifetime sale… hahah.

But Built To Love also talked about the difference between “associated emotions” and “supported emotions” which a product evokes. Associated emotions are the emotions which marketing campaigns show, but not necessarily something which you yourself feel when using the product. For example, take those many “man-ly” ads of smoking, which may not be an emotion which many smokers relate to when they smoke. Supported emotions, on the other hand, go hand in hand with every interaction with the product.


So after reading all that, I wondered what emotions might the Book Bag evoke… Of course the book advocated that to truly have a game-changing product, the emotions must be designed into the product right at the onset; emotions which resonate with customers and company, and designing these emotions into the touchpoints of product interaction. Too late for me, but I thought it an interesting exercise to do now that everything is kind of over…



How emotional is the Book Bag?

So just how can a paper bag be emotional to users?! I think this is something a plain ol’ paper bag had not done in some time? Ladies handbags, yes, can get emotional, but the ubiquitous paper bag used for grocery shopping? Maybe the only emotion is something that comes out from pure utility, a feeling of security (out of familiarity, that it reliably performs its functions)……?

Do I make you emotional?

So how about the Book Bag? What emotions does it evoke? How does it emote you?

I’d like to hear more from you, but I’ll start the ball rolling with mine (which may or may not be relevant to your unique point of view). I think the first thing it evokes in me when I see it is curiosity. I’d seen it in my friends when I showed it to them or left it on the table, and they asked/wanted to see/hold it…I see it in myself, whenever I see it, even though being responsible for its birth. There’s something about it looking so much like a book but not really (one can tell pretty quickly it’s not a real book through the handles and flaps). That sense of curious wonder, with a play-like tinge to it. Yet its antique-ish, ‘leather-bound’ exterior shows that the play is not a childish or stupid kind of play, but a more serious type, like serious fun for grown-ups. Play which we can learn from and enjoy in the process while not find it boring.

Of course all those feelings would be for nought if the bag didn’t live up to its utilitarian purposes of carrying stuff – which is why we always feel kinda cheated when we buy things we don’t need or things which look pretty/slick but performs poorly. Through the added CD and receipt pocket, and strategic locations for leaving the Book Bag and how it fits into the readers’ journey, I believe (I hope) it fulfills its intended uses.

So, to sum up those emotions:

Curious wonder. Serious fun.

And how does it resonate with readers? I see some alignment there, since after all those same feelings are what reading is all about, isn’t it? We read out of curiosity, out of wonder, and hopefully be entertained along the way (if it’s boring we won’t be reading it!). And certainly it’s somewhere along these values which NLB delivers its products and services.


Do you agree?