Friday, March 17, 2006

What's in a product?

So, what's in a decent product that makes it an amazing product in the eyes of consumers? Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users has some thoughts on the matter that I think librarians may find intriguing. Specifically, she outlines 10 ways to make your product desirable. I won't repeat them all here, but they include such goodies as "pay attention to the emotional appeal," "make it meaningful," "support a community of users," and "never underestimate the power of fun."

What's important to keep in mind with both products and services is that they are jam-packed with psychological and emotional meaning for people. Consider something as common as a bag of M&M's, for example. How do you feel about this product? Does it bring back feelings of nostalgia? Are M&M's your favorite comfort food? Do you find the M&M's spokes-candies fun and adorable? Now just think about how much meaning and emotion is embedded in an institution as established and widely-regarded as the library!

What I like about Kathy's post is that it reminds us that we don't just consume products, we have relationships with them. For these reasons, consumer psychology and behavior are important to understand in order to create services that have appeal on many levels. One popular site that is helpful for an introduction to such concepts is The Psychology of Consumers: Consumer Behavior and Marketing.

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