How Do You Create a Product that Matters?


Whatever industry you are in, whatever kind of buyer you target, whatever distribution system you use, whatever your promotional budget,you can’t afford for your product to be a lemon.

It needs to stand out from the field in unique and meaningful ways.

This can be hard to accomplish when you’re working to business-as-usual.

After all, your competition is generally using the same technology, same ideology, and same processes to create, distribute, and promote its products.

And, even if you are able to jump ahead of the competition in some significant way, they’re able to catch up so quickly that your advantage is short-lived.

That’s why, in crowded, cluttered, and confused categories, it’s essential to break through, to rise above, and to matter in meaningful ways.

But we see many products fail to matter from the get-go.

Few notice when they come to market.

They find themselves quickly relegated to the blurry corners of the category, the internet, and the shelf.

Why do so many products fail to break through the clutter?

Because, all too often, product designers aren’t engaged around the idea of what makes a product truly matter to people today.

That’s because the company they work for hasn’t adopted a clear, concise, and compelling Purpose Beyond Profit.

The company is still doing business-as-usual and not taking steps to transform itself through meaning.

As such, the company’s product designers don’t seize the opportunity to design products that represent, encapsulate, and magnify the best intentions of the company.

The resulting products, while worthy unto themselves, don’t leverage, add to, or amplify a bigger story designed to differentiate and create appeal for the business.

In the end, too many products are too narrow in their goals; they are solely focused on the immediate problem or opportunity and do not benefit from deep insights into why what they’re building will matter to people.

When product people work toward a higher purpose, products that matter become a natural result

When a company is driven by a Purpose Beyond Profit, product designers join the rest of the company in working toward a meaningful ambition.

They design products that matter because the solutions they offer reflect not only an answer to the immediate needs of buyers, but also a carry a response to the more holistic hopes, desires, and aspirations of buyers seeking to create new meaning in their lives.

The nature, intent, and scope of that higher purpose helps product designers to craft ideas that matter.

This is not about adding a layer of purpose on top of the product, but rather it’s about baking the purpose into the product at the earliest conceptual stages.

Indeed, the starting point of design for products that matter isn’t technology

Rather, meaningful design starts with the lives of the people who will, one day, learn about the product, try the product, use the product (perhaps over and over again), and talk about the product, and the company behind it, with family and friends.

A Purpose Beyond Profit merges the holistic needs of buyers with what the company does and how it does it.

It is a guiding light, a purposeful stimulant, and an effective filter for designers of products, and for everyone else in the company.

As such, the products purpose-driven designers create work in a broader context than immediate problem solving, easier ways to do things, or new advantages owing to new technology.

Products that are vivid demonstrations of the business’s Purpose Beyond Profit

These are products that break through the clutter, rise above the crowd, and matter in powerfully meaningful ways.

People don’t simply “buy” these products, they “buy-into” the idea of the product.

They don’t simply “use” these products, they “incorporate” them into their lives.

They don’t simply “acknowledge” they use these products, they “advocate” the use of these products.

The results of buying-into, incorporating, and advocating, add to both the economic and emotional value of your business.

People look forward to your next product idea.

Not with the expectation of a simple “wow” feature, but with the heartfelt belief that your next product will, once again, help them create new meaning in their lives.

In other words, a new product that matters from a company people respect, admire, and support.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.

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