There was a famous food test where critics were given three meals: chicken, grilled chicken, and Tuscan-seasoned balsamic chicken. The Tuscan chicken got the best ratings. But there was a twist. The three meals were identical except for the name. The critics’ brains literally told them that the Tuscan-seasoned balsamic chicken was tastier than the identical “grilled chicken.” The name evoked positive emotions that changed their physical experience.
This is an important concept to remember when designing product experiences. Let’s use Starbucks as an example. Starbucks customers love getting to work in the morning feeling like they are powerful and ready to take on the day. Nothing evokes that emotion like striding down the street holding a caffeinated beverage in a signature Starbucks cup. On the flip side, Starbucks customers hate when days get long and stressful. Therefore they love having a sanctuary where they can take a 15-minute break in the afternoon. Think about the music, the smells, the baristas, and the entire environment inside a Starbucks. It is designed to evoke emotions so when you sip your coffee, it feels like the best part of your day.
Think carefully about your customers. Figure out what they hate and what they love. Then take advantage of that to evoke emotions and win their loyalty. If people buy your product because it’s rational, you can win for now. If people buy your product because they love it, you can win for a lifetime.