How do you create a product or service that is so valuable that people will beat a path to your door? That they will pay you a premium for your product or service—and feel good about it because you delivered far more value than you received in payment?
We start with a process we call the onion. This is a great exercise for meetings in which you break into small teams and brainstorm the four categories of a product or service.
Core or Basic Product/Service
Start by listing the core features/benefits your product or service offers in the marketplace. For example, virtually every hotel offers a room and a bed; every real estate firm uses a yard sign and the multiple listing service (MLS); every car offers transportation (4 wheels and an engine); all coffee shops offer a cup of coffee.
Now, list the features/benefits you offer that are different from your competitors. Here are some examples:
- The hotel adds a pool and fitness center as well as free internet and bath robes.
- Your real estate firm creates an individual property website for your home and uses professional photography and a four-page, full-color property brochure, compared to competitors’ one-page or black-and-white brochure
- The coffee shop adds seating, soft music, and creates the ambiance of a restaurant.
- The car manufacturer offers a stunning design as well as a multitude of electronic gadgets – GPS, Bluetooth, etc.
How can you deliver your product or service in a unique way that is customized for your customer? (Customized comes from the word customer.) Many times the customized experience is delivered by your people.
Have you ever watched a barista at Starbucks in the morning when the regulars file in for their morning coffee? The barista knows everyone by name, what they do for a living, that they just got back from a trip to Mexico, etc. – and exactly how they like their latte! How does this make their customers feel? It’s not about the coffee. It’s the feeling they get when they come to get their coffee.
Have you ever seen the original Starbucks mind map? Mind mapping is a brainstorming exercise used to create a product or service. It starts with the “big idea” in the center of the page and then participants generate ideas that “spider web” off of this big idea. Here’s the original Starbucks mind map.