People Buy the Brand, Not the Features or Benefits

You’ve probably heard this saying before. Of course, features and benefits play a big role in a consumer’s choice, but that’s not always what drives someone to buy… at least not from the start.

Brands that win, big or small, communicate something that goes beyond the product or service offering. The result? An emotional response that drives action.

Let’s look at a real-life scenario.

Everyone has heard of (or tried… or devoured… ) Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. They’re one of the leading names in the industry – and for good reason.

Beyond just having unique flavor combos and funky names, most fans support Ben & Jerry’s for a more meaningful purpose – the issues the company cares about and the way they conduct business.

ben & jerry's ice cream

It’s no mystery the kings of ice cream stand up for social issues they believe in. Across all user interactions, they make it very clear to everyone that they’re in business for reasons beyond serving delicious creamy goodness.

And they deliver those values in every single carton they sell. Fair Trade. rGBH Free. Non-GMO.

So, want to build a powerful brand?

Stand for something, and stick to it. Make it known to consumers that purchasing a product or service does more than just put money in the seller’s pocket.

Communicate the reason the company exists. Tell everyone “why” you do what you do.

Businesses are created to solve a problem, right? A solution to a problem that is a little bit different, or a little bit better than the other-guy’s.

But, a better solution doesn’t make you different. We’re all out here trying to do the same thing – solve the world’s problems. So you probably shouldn’t use that to position your company.

There’s a better way to get people to trust you over someone else.

And it’s not by adding more features or doing the job cheaper or faster. It has to do with the way people make decisions.

When it comes down to it, humans don’t really make logical decisions – they make emotional ones.

Most decisions are made within the limbic system of the brain. It’s the part of the brain that stirs up emotion and produces the “gut feelings” that overwhelmingly drives nearly all of our decision making.

When someone says, “I don’t know, it just feels right,” it’s not their analytical brain doing the talking. It’s their prehistoric lizard brain coming out to play through their limbic system.

How does your product make the customer feel?

This simple question is the defining point that drives purchasing behavior. Your product might be the best, but if it doesn’t feel good, you can bet they’ll choose another brand that does.

Businesses are run by PEOPLE.

It’s super important that we all realize this. A business needs to feel human. Like a person is running it. It should be a reflection of the person or group of people who run the show.

What better way to capture the human feel of a business than with a powerfully human-centric brand?

Brands that connect emotion to their features and benefits will always win.

Let’s not worry about the wrong things when positioning our products. Features and benefits are great and definitely have their place, but they don’t build a strong connection that will drive human action. And driving action can be hard.

Selling features won’t cut it. We have to do more than that. Communicating through a powerful brand is what sells. It cuts through the clutter and gets straight to the point – it saves people time and encourages them to make a quick decision based on their intuition. 

At the end of the day – it’s stories, people, and feelings that connect with people. So connect the “gut” to the “brain” and give a bigger purpose to the consumer’s experience, and they’ll gladly join your cause.

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