ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Driving Emotional Connections – A Case Study of Home Shopping Channels

Posted by Plish on February 11, 2011

In times when people are deluged with stimuli, it’s essential to design products and services so that positive, lasting, energizing experiences result. These emotionally engaging products and services, when analyzed, share commonalities.

Richard Chase and Sriram Dasu, in their article: Want to perfect your company’s service? Use Behavioral Science;(Richard B. Chase and Sriram Dasu;Harvard Business Review, Jun 2001; 78-84) point to 5 rules that can improve the positive experience of services or minimize the impact of negative experiences when they occur (I color coded three rules so they can be found later in the article).

  1. Finish Strong
  2. Get Bad Experiences Out of The Way Early
  3. Segment Pleasure, Combine Pain
  4. Build Commitment Through Choice
  5. Use/Respect Ritual

Harvey Hartman of the Hartman Group, in one of my favorite, loaded, little books,Reflections on a Cultural Brand: Connecting with Lifestyles, highlights 5 principles and how they lead to emotional engagement.  Design the control  of these principles and you increase the emotional engagement:

  1. Community>>Interaction>>Belonging
  2. Knowledge>>Empowerment>>Confidence
  3. Authenticity>>Trust>>Security
  4. Relevance>>Personal Connection>>Comfort
  5. Surprise>>Delight!>>Pleasure

When used in tandem, both of these sources provide guidance in designing experiences- Hartman with regards to the content of offerings and Chase/Dasu with regards to how things unfold over time.

Let’s examine how these various principles are applied in the case of home shopping television stations such as HSN or QVC.

These companies are excellent examples of providing emotionally engaging services.  (If you have access to these stations, it might be worth stopping by and watching them for a while – some of what I will say will make much more sense after you have.)

When tuning in to one of these stations people see a gregarious host, possibly an equally bubbly product expert, beautiful models, close-ups of various products and a prominent insert on the screen that points out the retail cost, the customer cost, shipping, how many have sold and/or are available, and how much longer any special deals will be present.  And this continues, pretty much, 24×7.  There is a wonderful structure to the flow of the shows.  Whether it’s food, jewelry, frying pans, or electronics, when you tune in to a shopping channel you quickly fall into the flow of the program - people fall into the ritual.  The programs are also segmented by product offerings and time.  Because of this combination of ritual and segmentation, people can tune in at the time of their choosing, and buy what they want, when they want, with a choice of payment plans and shipping options.  These stations strongly leverage three of Chase/Dasu’s 5 guiding principles.

Let’s look now at how the experience of Shopping channels maps to Hartman’s principles.

 

It’s clear that aspects of shopping networks map well to the principles noted by Hartman.  Multiple opportunities for building positive experiences are leveraged whenever possible.  The more that experiences can be mapped to these principles, the more powerful the pull of the product or service.   Couple this with the Chase/Dasu principles and it becomes obvious that the success of home shopping channels is anything but accidental. 

There is a nexus of  experiential meaning present for those that visit these networks, and this means that it is highly likely that these people will also be evangelists.  The result is a self-sustaining, emotionally fulfilling shopping experience, all in the comfort of the home.

How do your products and services stack up against this tandem of Hartman and Chase/Dasu principles?

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2 Responses to “Driving Emotional Connections – A Case Study of Home Shopping Channels”

  1. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  2. [...] important to finish experiences on a high note. This one was  the coda  of the sweet, Honey Walnut Symphony… Advertisement [...]

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