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  • Writer's pictureScott Neitlich

Emotionally Centric Product Design

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

I love helping to design product. I've been fortunate enough to have been in the consumer product industry for the last twenty years and have been blessed with the opportunity to work on some very cool and innovative items.

A huge key learning I have taken from this experience is that almost every company I have worked for has approached product development from a very traditional angle; if it worked last year, offer it again this year in a new color. OR, from another perspective, "make the product work for as many customers as possible.". (i.e. 4-quadrant marketing)

While this angle can work, and I am not at all downplaying a tried and true method of product development, at Spector Creative, we offer a VERY different approach.

Emotion first.

No, I don't mean "design a product that will make a customer happy". That is like fish in a barrel. What I mean by Emotion First, or "Emotionally Centric Product Design" is to approach any project or product design with a clear understanding of why a consumer will buy it.

For example, lets talk toy product, and specifically adult collector product (you know, that person who owns 1,000 Batman action figure and is over the age of 30). Why is this person buying Batman toys? Why is he going to continue buying Batman toys? Do you as product designer/marketing person have an understanding of the emotional connection the collector has to product?

Or on the flip side, kids play product. In today's modern a go go world of phones, screens and YouTube binging, why are kids playing with your toy? Many of the companies I have worked with in the past look at "how" kids play with toys. i.e. they race them, comb their hair, battle against each other, that type of thing. This is called a play pattern.

However, does that method really lead to long term success? Is product really about the way kids/consumers play with something and fulfilling this line item in a portfolio of product? In my opinion, no. It is much more about the emotional need of the child/collector/consumer. And having a deep understanding of this "why" is the true key to success.

Once you understand what emotional needs a product fulfills, it becomes much clearer not only how to design a product, but how to market and sell it. This is why Spector Creative works with parents, collectors, child play therapists and storytellers to help market product that doesn't just check off an SKU box.

The question becomes, why do collectors collect? Why do kids play? Why do consumer buy certain product lines? It is not because they need or want it, but that on some level they feel passionate toward it on a subconscious level. It's an inner drive that fuels the fire to a customer who walks by a product never looking back and a customer who runs back to the aisle because they cannot bear the thought of leaving the store without this item. Spector Creative can help you figure out exactly what type of product that should be and WHY it will work! We are not about fulfilling a play pattern, but rather addressing the underlying psychological and emotional needs of the consumer.

Want to know more about emotionally centric product development? Drop us a line anytime!

Let us know how we can offer a creative solution for you!!

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