From Product To Creation
A first suggestion: avoid using the word “product.” It lacks exclusivity and evokes something that is produced in mass, by machines. If possible, choose different words when talking about your products.
A watch is a timepiece, a wristwatch, a timekeeper, an horlogerie creation. For jewelry, it is simply a jewelry creation or a precious creation. A life insurance policy is part of a lifetime financial plan, a long-term investment solution or a family savings package. A property your customer buys to live in is simply a family home. And, if he invests in a property, it is a property asset. The car that John will buy for his family is a family vehicle. By giving it a nicer name, we are also ascribing a different role to the product.
Qualify the product differently so as to give more value and create emotional impact.
The Dimensions Of A Product
We can easily distinguish the two dimensions of a product: functional and cultural (Chart 4.4).
Chart 4.4 The dimensions of a product
This is not only about the utility, let us also mention the innovation, the technology necessary behind each creation. The design is part of the functionality and is very often the most difficult part—the added value.
There is no great functionality achieved without proper research, serious work and innovation. Most first-class products have behind them leadership in involving savoir-faire and invention.
A high-end product necessarily has a strong cultural background. First, there is its heritage: the founder, the family, people who were at the origin of the success. The creation also carries many values, beliefs that make the creation different from other products. What are they? The creation is very often presented with a real retail and experience. Last but not least, there is a constant search for beauty in Luxury and high-end products.
The cultural dimension gives to the creation its real, rare personality.
A product is industrial whist a creation is unique. Your client is looking for something unique and exceptional. We will soon see how to present a product: how to romance and create the desire to purchase. Meanwhile, let me share with you a story about wine, as an invitation to always see beyond product.
I had the chance to live for 3 years in Bordeaux, studying at the Bordeaux Business School. I visited some of the most prestigious estates. But my most memorable experience was with a very small wine property owner in Medoc. After warmly welcoming us, the owner Louis walked our group of students to the grapes. While walking, he was talking about his family being there for only 60 years and how proud they are to take care of the vineyards. "We are still learning," he said, "about how we could deserve to be here, and our incredible luck to be winemakers." When he approached the grapes, he caressed the leaves, and invited us to touch and smell the grapes. He was also incredibly knowledgeable about geology and explained why the soil where we were is different from the soil of the property next door to his. "And also, the weather, a slight change in the soil's composition, the way we work on the grapes each year creates a diversity in grapes. You cannot really control Mother Earth." He walked us to the wine distillery, where we could see these huge stainless steel containers. There was also a small laboratory. Everything was so clean and neat. "There is no magic recipe to make great wine. We are only a sorcerer's apprentice and each time we have to respect was is given by Mother Earth, and handle it with care.". He finally took us to the barrels where the wines would rest and mature in oak wood. "We are always very stressed by how our wine will evolve in these barrels. Things are not always controllable; even if we do our very best." At this point of the visit I could not resist asking Louis: "Why are there so many uncertainties and therefore it looks like things are quite out of control. How can you be sure that you are going to be able to produce the best wine?"
"They are creations, not products," Louis replied. "We are only making efforts every day to get the best quality grapes by protecting and nourishing our land. We handle with care what has been delivered to us, and we try with our experience to assemble what we can to get the best essence. After all, it's not in our control. We have to accept that!" Of course, at the end of our visit, Louis opened a bottle for us to taste and invited us to give him our comments. The wine was just divine. I will never look at that wine the same way again.
Go beyond product and the need. Understand the desire and then reinforce it.
Treat a product as a creation, by focusing on the emotion rather than the basic function.
Find all the dimensions for the products you are selling.