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Love & Trust – What we know about relationships holds true in products21:00 with Ben Lehnert and Cat Noone
Why do some people fall in love with some products and others don’t? What does it take to get a product passed the first date toward a lifetime partner? This talk is about how you can apply the patterns of human relationships to design products that people fall in love with.
[SOUND] Hey, guys, good morning. 0:00 [SOUND] Or guten morgen, as everyone says in Germany. 0:03 I'm Kat. 0:12 This is Ben. 0:13 yeah, we came from Berlin, although I'm originally from New York. 0:14 We're both in you know, the design industry. 0:20 And although we work in two different companies we are partners in life. 0:23 so, we thought that this topic was something we saw occur frequently 0:30 in our relationship and had several parallels in you know, in products. 0:37 And design as well. 0:42 So we said, okay, this is more than fitting. 0:42 And said, let's, let's do it. 0:45 So we're here. 0:47 And we're gonna talk about love and trust. 0:48 And what we know for relationships holds true in products. 0:50 Cool. 0:55 Raise your hand if you have said this, I love this product! 0:57 I can't live without it more than five times in the past year. 1:01 Yeah! Not many, but for 1:07 the ones that, that did raise your hand, that's fantastic honestly. 1:09 I don't think that I can raise my hand more than five times. 1:15 I think there is, for me there is two. 1:18 One would be this shirt that I have on because it, it feels like clouds and 1:20 and the other would be this this record player that we just purchased. 1:26 yeah. 1:32 For those of you who did raise your hand you can thank this guy for 1:34 that, your prefrontal cortex. 1:38 It's at the very front of your brain, and right behind your, 1:41 your forehead actually and is responsible for quite a few things. 1:45 One of those things is right and wrong. 1:51 The other is transcribing data from sensory input. 1:54 And two interesting things that occur with this little conductor, 2:03 is the ability to choose a partner and also responsible 2:08 for helping us decide what products we love when we purchase things. 2:15 yeah. 2:22 Go ahead. 2:23 A lot of major companies like Leica or Apple or 2:24 Nomos play into this prefrontal cortex really well. 2:29 They take advantage of our senses and our emotions and 2:34 our decision making between right and wrong. 2:38 Apple is, is king I think, for, for adjectives. 2:41 You know, one thing they, they use, they use rec, recently was everything that's 2:44 intimate and emotional and attachment and love and so on and so forth. 2:49 Just this year Leica released their Leica T camera. 2:55 And in the commercial, they say, the Leica T is more than just a camera. 2:59 It's sort of a companion. 3:04 Someone you trust, someone you rely on, someone you want to keep in touch with. 3:05 And this totally plays into that and it makes you want to buy it. 3:10 Makes you interested in it. 3:15 So yeah. 3:17 >> So if the same area in the brain that is responsible for 3:18 making purchasing decision is the same area that's responsible for 3:24 choosing a partner, that's very interesting to us. 3:30 And we actually spent a lot of time discussing, what does that mean for 3:35 designing a product? 3:39 Because we're both designers. 3:40 And there must be a correlation that we 3:42 can use almost like a framework of thinking about products. 3:46 And it starts with so, products are people too. 3:51 If you approach your product design, your product design process from that angle. 3:56 Certainly things like character, opinion, personality start to matter. 4:02 And that means in the end you're designing, really, a character which is 4:08 your product, but that product interacts with people, which is experiences. 4:14 So the whole user experience design part plays into that. 4:20 And in the end, and that's why it is so interesting for businesses to 4:24 really approach product design from that angle is, you're building and 4:28 you're designing relationships with, which if you're successful. 4:32 This is customer lifetime value, right there. 4:38 Like, this is why it matters to really invest in building up a relationship. 4:40 That is why people come back and why they pay you money over and over and 4:45 over again. 4:50 So for today, we want to give just a few thoughts and insights. 4:51 What we think is how we can get a product from a blind date to 4:58 a lifetime partner because that's what you want as a company, ideally. 5:01 You wanna make this one moment last forever. 5:06 And it all starts with attraction. 5:09 Attraction is that one moment where you stop and 5:14 think, oh, this is interesting, oh this is cool, this is beautiful. 5:17 You know, the one moment where it gets you and then it grows over time. 5:22 So, just to start with the very on the surface thing first, a word about beauty. 5:27 There are several studies out there that found out 5:33 that we as human beings, we are attracted by beauty. 5:38 And although beauty is very subjective it is very important for us and 5:43 the commitment we, we make in the end, that something is beautiful. 5:47 It goes to the point where interfaces are perceived as easier to use if 5:51 they are more beautiful, more pleasing to the eye. 5:56 And we just, 6:00 we just thrive towards beautiful things, the things that we perceive as beautiful. 6:01 But it takes much more than just beauty, as we all know, 6:06 to really fall in love with something or someone. 6:11 And that is character. 6:17 So, what makes a good character and without going too much into detail, you 6:19 really can read up on character design and how all these companies like Disney and 6:24 Pixar, how they develop their characters and their stories. 6:29 But there are four or 6:33 five things that I think all of us would agree make a good character. 6:35 And that's what I briefly want to talk about is, the first thing and that's 6:40 very important, and a lot of companies fail already here, is be interested. 6:46 Be genuinely interested in your user, people that use and 6:53 buy a product, your customer. 6:57 And not only interested in, how can I make them buy this? 6:59 How can I contribute to their life? 7:02 What are their problems, their challenges? 7:05 And express that interest in a dialogue, 7:08 in the conversation right from the beginning. 7:12 The next point is make them smile. 7:18 We all read about these little big details and the little things 7:20 that make people smile, where they, just are left with a great feeling. 7:25 And you have a lot of chances to make people smile. 7:31 No matter if you're building hardware product or software product, these 7:34 things where, it usually happens when you don't expect something to be there. 7:37 And you suddenly find it, that it makes sense, that it's maybe funny, 7:41 it's a little bit of copy that you didn't expect to be somewhere there and 7:45 you scroll a bit further. 7:49 Or just products that, that work in a way that you didn't expect them to work. 7:50 That's very important and we heard about that yesterday in Scott's talk. 7:57 Those are these moments where you are in sync and there are a lot of things 8:00 that go on in your body that make you feel that way. 8:03 But it's actually extremely important. 8:09 Then, and that's also something that is really, really important. 8:12 My mom always said, you can't please everyone. 8:16 And I think when we are building products, we try to please everyone much too often. 8:19 And it doesn't mean you should ignore most of the people. 8:25 But it does means the product has to have an opinion. 8:28 It's okay to do things in a different way than other products in the market. 8:30 And I worked for Wunderlist, which is a small start up in Berlin. 8:35 We are building it actually, we started it as a to do list. 8:40 We are now building productivity platform, and 8:43 there are probably a million other products out there. 8:45 And a lot of people always ask us, why you're not building this feature or 8:48 that feature. 8:50 And we are very strong focus on, on ease of use and simplicity, and 8:51 there are are a lot of things where we just say no. 8:54 I mean, that doesn't make sense for us. 8:57 That doesn't fit to the opinion that the product stands for. 8:58 And then, and 9:05 we heard about that again from Scott, which was a great talk by the way. 9:06 Give advice in areas you're an expert in. 9:11 And I think that is something that we all know from our friends. 9:15 And Scott talked about that in depth yesterday which, which was great. 9:18 In the end you purchase a product and you commit to a product because it 9:23 gives you something that you are not that good at, or where you need support. 9:27 It's, it's almost like a sidekick, you know for a specific thing, 9:31 a specific area, and that's why you should really focus on those 9:36 moments where you can, your product can contribute with a very strong advice. 9:40 And I think the last part is, why do we we, why are we looking for 9:46 partners, why are we looking for sidekicks? 9:50 It's because they elevate us, 9:53 they make us better, they make us feel awesome in, in an area. 9:55 It could be a camera, but it could also be just an app that in one little area, 9:59 makes us better and makes us feel better. 10:05 And so, why is this all important? 10:08 Why should we really invest a lot of time in building and 10:10 evolving the character of our product? 10:14 Because real character is very difficult to replicate. 10:17 You know, it's easy to replicate functionality, and 10:21 it's even easy to copy visual design. 10:25 And we see that. 10:28 You know, a lot of products are just copies of others, but 10:29 where you can really make a difference is when you, when you design it 10:32 through from the product to the experience to the relationship. 10:36 Is that means that a lot of commitment and a lot of effort, and 10:40 that's why people come back. 10:43 That's, even if there are flaws and quirks, they come back. 10:45 They trust and, and trust is actually I think 10:50 the next step from attraction towards this long commitment. 10:56 >> Yeah I think if anything trust is, 11:03 is exactly what distinguishes one character from the other. 11:06 And by definition trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, or 11:11 ability of someone or something. 11:15 [BLANK_AUDIO] 11:17 And we know this because the, 11:21 the thing about trust is it's distinctive, it's, it's given by other people. 11:22 yeah. 11:27 In a TED talk by Onora O'Neill, 11:29 which I highly recommend, she says you can't fool all the people all the time. 11:34 And she refers to, to these products or 11:40 these companies or even these governments who try to take advantage. 11:42 You know, they, they put something out there in the world. 11:48 They advertise something. 11:50 They play on your pre-frontal cortex. 11:51 You cave. 11:54 You automatically go get it, and it ends up letting you down. 11:55 You trust in what they said, and it ends up letting you down. 11:59 But at the end, you can't fool all the people all the time. 12:02 [BLANK_AUDIO] 12:04 And because trust is given, in order to receive it, you need to be trustworthy. 12:07 [BLANK_AUDIO] 12:13 You need to deliver what you promise. 12:16 One thing that I think many companies highly recommend, or rather, 12:18 practice is underpromise, overdeliver so that the client, the user, 12:22 so on and so forth, is absolutely blown away when everything is delivered to them. 12:28 It was much more than they expected, and they're in awe. 12:32 Deliver value. 12:35 We see this one when, again, companies like Apple or Leica you know, push 12:41 out their products and, and we purchase it and just, there's so much value in it. 12:46 You, we, we feel when, when love was put into something. 12:50 When, when people took the time to craft something. 12:55 Be competent, honest and reliable. 13:00 There's nothing better than, 13:03 than a company you know you can go to if something happens. 13:04 And nothing worse than a company you go to and, and they completely let you down. 13:08 You know, some companies they, you purchase insurance and 13:13 you think that, okay, if my phone breaks, I'm gonna and I'm gonna get a new one. 13:17 And ideally, you go to the counter, they say okay, 13:21 it broke, this wasn't your fault, here's a new one. 13:24 But when they say okay, it broke, here's a new one, 13:27 your bill is $150, you say well, why? 13:31 You, you made this, it broke, it wasn't my fault, why do I have to pay for it? 13:35 And I think we, you know, people feel like they can't rely on you, 13:40 they can't rely on what you say, what you promise so 13:46 I think being competent, honest and reliable is key. 13:51 Making yourself vulnerable. 13:55 This holds true in, in several areas. 13:57 We know when, when someone makes themselves vulnerable to us. 14:00 You know, they, they drop their guard. 14:04 They open up. 14:08 They're very honest. 14:10 And that automatically lets us know, okay, we can, we can trust you. 14:11 We can trust what you're saying. 14:15 Deliver clear evidence that you're trustworthy. 14:20 Like I said earlier, trust is given. 14:24 There is no, let's work on this together, you know, Apple or, or Nomos or 14:27 whoever will never say okay, we let you down this one time, so 14:32 work with us now to build up this trust. 14:35 No, doesn't happen that way. 14:38 You have to deliver clear evidence that you're trustworthy. 14:41 You have to give someone a basis to feel they can trust you in 14:46 whatever area that is, even if it's a government. 14:49 There needs to be clear evidence. 14:52 And in doing so, in delivering that trust, we establish a true relationship. 14:57 >> So, we are, we feel attracted by something, an object, a person. 15:05 And thanks to the product or 15:14 the person being trustworthy, we give trust. 15:18 And I think those are, this the fundament for what can become a relationship. 15:24 And I think, some companies actually manage to get to 15:31 the point where you trust but not a lot of companies really, 15:36 products especially, get to the point where they have a relationship. 15:41 Where you really invest emotion into, 15:47 into that relationship that you have with the product. 15:51 And so the, it starts with commitment. 15:57 Lets say you feel attracted. 16:02 This, this product is great and it delivers value to you, and it is really 16:04 helpful, and you enjoy using it, and you enjoy staying in touch with the product. 16:09 But it takes a lot of time and 16:15 effort from the company's side to actually get you to point where you commit. 16:17 And it often starts with like, telling your friends about it, about the product. 16:22 This is the first step towards making a real commitment. 16:27 You tell someone else about it, you become part of the product, 16:32 trying to be trustworthy and showing clear evidence of being trustworthy. 16:37 And then, the next step, and 16:42 that is actually the hardest part, is constant effort. 16:44 The relationship with the customer and the user doesn't end with the purchase. 16:49 It starts with the purchase. 16:56 And that means for you as a company, 16:58 you have to put constant effort in keeping this relationship alive. 17:01 And, you don't do that by just sending, emails and emails and emails. 17:06 That is, that is kinda the black magic of, of e-commerce. 17:12 We have tried to trick people into a certain behavior. 17:17 What you want is real emotional commitment. 17:21 People that just, I just go to an Apple store for 17:24 example to, just to be there, just browse around, and people are nice there. 17:26 You know, I can hang out, I can charge my phone. 17:30 Those are, those are things that are amazing. 17:33 The little things that don't really immediately lead to me 17:36 purchasing something or spending more money, but 17:41 overall things that make me feel better, and make me connected. 17:45 And the same goes for just real, 17:49 like really deep insights into how something works. 17:53 For example we have, we had this quote from the Leica T and Leica brought out 17:58 a video which I called the most boring ad ever, and it's a 45 minute YouTube video. 18:02 You can go on YouTube and, and watch it, and 18:07 what they show is, how the outer body of the camera is polished by hand. 18:10 Every single one, by hand for 45 minutes. 18:16 And they show the entire process of someone sitting there polishing the body 18:19 by hand. 18:24 And this probably didn't lead to immediate increase of purchase. 18:25 But what it gives me is an insight and a connection, another connection point to 18:31 see how much care they put into a product that in the end I buy for a lot of money. 18:36 Probably a lot more money that I would have to spend for 18:41 the, just the tech specs. 18:43 And there are a lot of companies that you can probably name that are not Apple and 18:46 not Leic, Leica that do the same thing. 18:50 And even if you just run a service, you can for 18:52 example show behind the scenes insights. 18:55 We, we heard about Watsi yesterday, and 18:58 I think what they try to do with the transparency part. 19:01 It goes beyond just seeing where your funds go. 19:04 You want to have a real commitment by your users and 19:07 by a community and that that is achieved by that constant 19:12 communication that you, that you need to keep up. 19:18 And continuous communication, and really just to stress that once more, is the key. 19:22 And as a company, you can't immediately correlate the effort you put 19:29 into the communication and the revenue you make. 19:34 But, when you look at your customer happiness and 19:37 how people talk about you and how they tell your friends about it, 19:41 that is an indicator for how strong the relationship is. 19:46 And when you look at, and again, it's an overused example, but 19:50 how Apple managed to become the most valuable company on the planet. 19:55 It probably goes to the point where marketing has stopped long ago. 20:00 It, it is really that long term commitment by the fans, emotional commitment. 20:04 And that is, continues communication building up, 20:10 what do you call a brand and something that people connect to. 20:14 And in the end if you manage to do all this. 20:21 And I think that's almost the end of the talk. 20:23 Is this little line. 20:27 Because that's what, what we wanna achieve, right? 20:29 We wanna build up a relationship that in the end brings us from 20:31 this one blind date, where we see something in the newspaper or 20:34 the store we wanna have it, we are attracted, we built up the trust. 20:41 And the company or product is in touch with us all the time. 20:44 And ideally, we've found a partner for life. 20:48 >> Thank you. 20:52 [APPLAUSE] 20:53
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