We’re all emotional buyers (yes, even you).

I’ve seen the future – and it’s coffee-bean shaped. A big metal coffee bean that’s been sliced in two. Smooth, shiny, pleasingly heavy. This bean has magical properties, and will transform your drinking experience. Simply put it in to your tea, coffee or other hot drink, and hey presto! It drops to a drinkable temperature three times faster than normal, and remains there twice as long. It sounds like the stuff of fantasy – like the Lost in Space washing machine that washed, dried and vacuum-packed clothes in seconds (I still want one). But no, it’s reality. And it’s available now. It’s not normally the sort of thing I’d go for. But then, I wasn’t buying the bean – I was buying into the story .

The heat is on

They’re called Joulies (from joule – a unit of heat) and when I heard about them, they were still an idea on the drawing board, without funding to make the leap to reality. Which is where I came in – and thousands of others. Through the Kickstarter website, we pre-purchased these miracle beans so they could go into production. Why? I’ve never done anything like this before. Let’s face it – there are lots of far-fetched ideas that never make it off the drawing board. So why this one? Emotion.
  • The Kickstarter angle appealed to me. What a novel way of providing startup capital. Help the inventors bypass the greedy VCs, and be part of something different and slightly off-the-wall.
  • The name made me smile. Clever, but not cutesy, and one I wish I’d thought of.
  • The founders won me over. They’re called Dave and Dave (one on the East Coast of the US, one on the West) and they’re two down-to-earth guys trying to make a dream come true. They send folksy emails and updates, and post photos of the production process, so you feel involved.
  • The metal beans looked really nice, so even if they didn’t work, I could turn one round and round in my pocket like a worry bead, or use it as a paperweight, or just let it catch the sunlight streaming into my office.
And lastly, the The Lost in Space weirdness appealed to me. Sorry, but it did. And the business case? The cost-benefit analysis? The opportunity cost (what else I could have done with the $48 I spent on five chunks of metal)? Forget it. I wasn’t using my head when I made this purchase.  It was 100% heart, and I never regretted it for a second. Or even for the six months between the time I shelled out my money and the day the Joulies finally arrived, nestled in a custom-made jute bag with a drawstring. Do they work? Yes, they do. Do I use them? Yes, sometimes, though it’s a bit of a hassle avoiding them when you get to the end of your drink, and they still need to be rinsed afterwards. Did I suffer from buyer’s remorse? Never. It was fun being part of the adventure, even if I did pay over the odds (the retail price will obviously be lower than the pre-production price). It wasn’t about the cost – it was about the experience.

Emotional intelligence

It’s not just metal coffee beans that cause us to disregard our logical brain. We do it all the time, whether we realise it or not. We buy from people we like. We shop at a supermarket that chimes with our values, status and approach to life. We wear designer labels that tell people who we are. And we don’t always buy on price – if we did, why do luxury brands exist? The common thread is emotion. We all respond to it, whether consciously or not. And the good news is that your customers do too. So don’t do a logical sell, do an emotional one. Don’t run a logical marketing campaign, run an emotional one. And don’t hide behind logic in your copy, online or offline. Show some emotion, even if it feels a bit uncomfortable at first. The flip-side is that it’ll make your prospects feel more comfortable. And that’s always a good thing. Right – time for a cup of coffee. With a big metal bean, naturally. Happy New Year. Find out more:
  • Drinker’s delight. Want coffee that’s cooler faster and hotter longer? Grab a bag of Joulies today.
  • Enjoy the ride. Help big ideas get off the ground, with Kickstarter.com.
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