… no, not really, but here’s why understanding motives trumps adding new features
There’s an arms race in the sportswear world. A recent article in the Economist magazine illustrated the ongoing market share conflict between sportswear titans NIKE, Adidas, and Puma. Their respective special forces (design) teams continue to pump out products with new features, largely in the belief that consumers buy their products based on technical specifications. As an example, one of Nike’s latest footwear introductions offers “Ultra-light FlyWire connected to the laces gives you total control of the mid-foot fit …”
To debunk this myth, Danish innovation and strategy consultancy ReD points out that of the 72 features a typical mobile phone offers, only 22 are truly desired or even used. The other 50 features are just not very important in the purchase decision. The same principle would hold true in the sportswear world.
ReD has a long standing relationship with Adidas, and the sportswear maker has benefited as a result. Adidas share prices and market share have grown as a general result of the new thinking that ReD has brought the firm. ReD’s methods are based in the social sciences, and their consultants have backgrounds in such fields as cultural anthropology, applied psychology, ethnography, and cognitive theory. The firm’s goal is to have a clear understanding of the deep motivations of the customer.
… 25 contained a picture of a little black dress.
In a recent study, ReD sent a team of its researchers to spend 24 hours side by side with customers. They ate meals together, jogged and did yoga, all in the quest to find out what made the customer exercise. Alongside this study, one of the researchers mailed out several dozen disposable cameras to customers, and asked them to snap photos of what motivated them to work out. Of the 30 cameras that were returned, 25 contained a picture of a little black dress. ReD had gone into the study assuming that the fitness training was to help the customer get better at their sport, when in fact “fitness itself was their sport!” While Adidas may not be Greek for little black dress, for this segment of women Adidas products does MEAN little black dress.
As I often say in my workshops and seminars, most businesses can tell me what they are selling, but few can accurately tell me WHY their customer’s are buying. Without a deep understanding of the WHY you will have a difficult time creating a winning strategy.
What’s your why?