Unfortunately, most of us don’t keep a list about why we buy whatever. Why not? Because much of the decision making process can be summed up the basics; convenience, price and value (not the same), and emotion. Here’s what Apple knows about the latter and why competitors overlook emotion entirely.
It’s All About That ‘Feel’
Why do we treat ourselves to a $6 cup of coffee at Starbucks in the morning when a solitary dollar will get us that lift we need almost anywhere else?
It’s all about how we feel, or want to feel, and Starbucks is an emotional treat far more than a place to fill up on coffee.
Likewise, Apple designs, builds, and sells products that are loved by hundreds of millions of customers who gain a user and customer experience not found in competing products.
Let me call that the emotional experience of how we feel about a product. Apple understands feel and emotion. The company probably has an emotion-ometer somewhere in the Cupertino, CA campus.
Apple just introduced two new products to start 2015; a thinner, lighter Mac, and a watch. The critics are howling with outrage. Why? PC makers have thin and light Windows notebooks at half the price but with similar or better specifications.
Other tech companies have smartwatches with great battery life and a laundry list of useful functions– all priced less than even Apple’s entry level Watch.
How does Apple get away with putting a premium price (which results in premium profits) on products that cost less nearly everywhere else?
It’s not just functionality, not just a laundry list of bullet point features or specifications. Apple’s products make users feel better about owning and using. Let me use the new MacBook, circa 2015, as an example.
The new MacBook is not all that powerful, but it uses a new Intel CPU, the ‘M’, which sips battery power and does not require a fan. Ipso facto, thinner and lighter design, no cumbersome ports from the past, so it looks and feels better than Windows notebooks which are saddled with, well, Windows.
The Emotional Watch
If ever there was a device with an emotional attachment, it’s a watch. We buy watches, collect watches, and use watches for many different reasons. Apple has provided a few more. A beautiful watch that also comes with more useful functions than any other but in a simple, non-complicated package.
Yes, critics are howling again because there are many competitors, many priced far less, and many luxury brands, many priced much higher, who contend Watch is an overpriced bauble that will need to be replaced every few years.
Apple Watch rates high on the emotion-ometer because of the unique combination of how it looks, how it works, and how it integrates into Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Mac ecosystem. Remember, Apple has well over half a billion customers in that ecosystem who already feel very good about their Apple products.
Apple knows that emotion is a strong component in the buying process, which taps into how customers feels about a product. Sure, you can buy a thin Windows notebook with more features than the new MacBook, but it still runs Windows and that doesn’t make many users feel good.
And, yes, you can buy many smartwatches that cost much less than Watch, and many luxury watches at a similar price tag which will last decades longer, but only the expensive devices will tap into that emotional vein, territory very familiar to Apple’s designers and engineers.
Why critics and competitors do not understand the value of look and feel, and the emotional tug, fully escapes me because it’s highly visible in other products with less features than some competitors.
When you make a decision to buy a new product, how much of the decision process is emotional vs. clinical or numbers driven?