First, a disclaimer: When I say “my mother” I am not talking about MY mother.
When I say “my wife,” I am not talking about MY wife. And when I say “my neighbor,” I am not talking about MY neighbor.
They are just examples of people I know whose names have been changed to protect the neurotic. Got it?
My mother did not go to the doctor today because she did not feel well.
If you think that's odd, how about this? My wife did her hair before she left the house for her hairdresser appointment.
And down the street, my neighbor cleans her house before the housekeeper comes over.
How logical is it to avoid going to your physician when you are feeling ill? Isn't dealing with your health care issues the whole point of going to see your health care provider in the first place? If you look up the word “irony” in the dictionary, there's a good chance you'll see a picture of my mother there.
A famous comedian once asked why male football fans wear team jerseys to watch games. Is it because they think they'll be called to play if someone on the field gets injured? If so, he reasoned, then why don't women ballet fans wear tutus to performances with the same hopes?
Why does this logically illogical logic matter to you? Because when you market your company, your products, and your services, you probably do it based on what you think is the logical activity and desires of your customers. And when you do consumer research and ask customers and potential customers why they buy your products or services, you don't get real answers. Instead, you get their own logical thought process. But as you see, consumers' logic is not always so logical.
Before you laugh at the foibles of others, think about your own illogical purchase habits and experiences. For example, I drive a sports car designed to perform at the unlimited speeds of Germany's Autobahn. Yet I live in a country where speed limits seldom top 70 MPH. Worse, I live in a city where traffic seldom allows speeds above 45 MPH.
What's logical about that?
Many people I know drive four-wheel drive SUVs – large, rugged vehicles designed to go off-road, ford raging rivers, and climb steep hills made otherwise impassable by boulders, snow, and ice. Yet we live in tropical Miami where we are blessed with no mountains, no dirt roads, no boulders, and no snow. In fact, the only ice you'll find around here are the frosty cubes chilling your mojito. Logical? Hardly.
How about you? Do your expensive Nike running shoes make you a better runner? Does your beautiful Fender Stratocaster make you a better guitar player? Does your featherweight Bianchi Italian racing bike lower your race times? Do your Henckels chef knives make your food taste any better?
The truth is we all do things – and buy things – for seemingly illogical reasons that simply make us feel good about what we're doing. And the companies who understand this – from Apple to Huckberry.com to Tom Ford to Whole Foods – profit from their ability to stoke our aspirational fires.
Today's consumer tells the world (and themselves) who they are based on the things they buy and the brands they consume. This means that the quality of the function those products provide is necessary, but is not the prime purchase driver. Instead it's what the product says about the purchaser that matters most.
How do you take advantage of this for your own business? Quite simply, you need to not just understand your customer's motivations but recognize their aspirations. Then, by creating your brand message to show them how they can express and accomplish their hopes and dreams with your help, your vendor/customer relationship can take a new and more profitable course.
Logically illogical? Perhaps.