Electrolux VP Yasushi Kusume explains what’s really going on in our heads when we decide to choose one brand over another, and how to make sure that customers choose yours.
‘Most of the time, your brain favors speed, interpreting events based on rules of thumb that are easy to apply, but not always logical.’
This idea is based on concept in psychology called dual process theory. Its basic idea is that when weighing-up options individuals use both an unconscious (emotional or gut-feeling) process and a conscious (rational and structural) process.
If you want your propositions to be identified, recognized and seriously considered by people looking to purchase a product in your category, then following the category code is vital.
However from time to time a company introduces a product with a disruptive proposition, one that if successful may go to set a new standard for its category. So does this mean there are benefits to breaking the code?
By breaking the category code, you obviously run the risk of losing customers: they may not recognize your product any more, much less consider buying it. That said, if you have something different to say, a story to tell that will grab people’s attention, then you may well want to change the appearance of your touchpoints in just such a way.
To successfully break the category code, your propositions should come with revolutionary new benefits – prompted by new technology, new regulations, new infrastructure – they can’t just be evolutionary upgrades. And if they are to grab people’s attention, then those benefits must be perceived as radically different from all other current market offers.
It’s also possible, of course, to take a middle way, one that both follows and breaks the two approaches. As long you have a clear knowledge and understanding of the key codes in your targeted categories this can be a very successful strategy for businesses today. But is this strategy futureproof?
New technologies will help some companies shift their internal set up from mass-production to ‘customizable-production’ on a small (or perhaps even mass) scale. What this new landscape will require is for companies and brands to shift their mindset away from the production of end products to the delivery of solutions.
One company will often no longer complete a user experience by itself. It means that it must pool resources with others to deliver the best possible solutions. It means that the current product-focused categories will disappear and new categories will emerge. These new categories will be based on providing solutions that meet all manner of needs, whether they be operating a washing machine or, to cite a more complex solution, monitoring diet and lifestyle to encourage healthy living. The solution will be goal, not the product.