Tuesday, June 13

Functional Benefits at Work

I just started teaching a new semester at NYU again this summer...always a joy to spend time with the next generation.

One of the early topics in each semester is functional benefits, with the premise that a product is rarely differentiated by its functional benefits alone. Typically most brands in a given category offer very similar if not exact functions. Take a look at laundry detergent, pain relievers, or beverages and you'll see what I mean.

It's generally the emotional benefits that make a brand and that build brand loyalty. Take a look at Tide, Tylenol, or Coca-Cola and you'll see what I mean.

There are of course exceptions when a product has a truly distinct functional benefit that brings innovation to a category or truly solves a problem before anyone else has.

Sometimes we see this in unusual places. Like t-shirts.

The Duluth Trading Company has a few things up its sleeves, providing functional benefits that solve age-old problems.

Like the Men's Long Sleeve Longtail T-Shirt Crack Spackle designed with a longer back to help cover up plumber's crack.

Or the Women's No-Yank Tank designed with a longer body to stay in place and not crawl up the tummy exposing, well, the tummy.

Sure, these are functional benefits that probably any other product could match. But this brand is doing it first, with a little emotional sense of humor added in.

Function that attracts for sure.  What's your experience? JIM

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