Thursday, 4 August 2016

Beauty Vs. Performance: People in my community.

There is a lot of emphasis on the beauty of an appliance, the look and feel of a website, the design of cars and many other products. This focus on beauty is being brought into light through the effort of companies like Apple, Nest and Tesla. While it is a completely great revolution for product creation, it has brought with it certain misgivings.

I used to value beauty a lot. I still do. However, I lately began to question this unending quest and relentless pursuit of beauty. So I debated within myself : Beauty or Performance, which is better?

My conclusion is that both are pretty little mice to pursue. The journey is rewardingly fun! However, priority should be given to what really matters. What do I mean? We need to think about which is far more valuable and important. There is where we need to spend more time. Is it the look and feel of an appliance or the fact that it works? If something works just fine no matter what condition or situation, people tend to care less about the beauty of that item. Flipping this, people get frustrated when things look beautiful but is totally dysfunctional. Sometimes you hear them swear. Perhaps it is to relieve their hurt!

So, the better situation is that you (the manufacturer, service person) focus first on the function ensuring that it works or delivers to expectation and can stand the test of times before considering the details of the visible aspect of the product or service.

You can think of beauty as the marketing element of the product. Typically people draw near things that are beautiful. But imagine their frustration after purchasing that item when they see that it is dysfunctional. You will never get a chance to do a repeat sale, meaning you have to spend more money to acquire a new customer every single time.

So here's my recommendation. The next time you want to create a product or service don't dwell on beauty. "Oh lets paint it this way or that way". "Let's package it with gold or let's use natural organic materials rather than synthetic plastics", you say. Those are nice thoughts, but hang your thoughts first. Return back to it only after you have settled the questions of quality and functionality of the product.

Let's get real. Using a service business as an example. A restaurant. You have the idea of this food business. Settle first what kind of restaurant you want - fast food, fine dining, local food shop. Then the menu. The quality of the food on the menu and how you will ensure that that quality remain the same. Now, you are free to think about the marketing elements - location, paint colors for the shop, type of plates, how waiters will wait on customers, blah blah blah.

If I can illustrate this in a diagram, it'll be something like this:

Again, the first thought is the idea (restaurant), some kind of guiding principle. Next is the development of the product (menu). Then the design of the business around the product. (restaurant business still) Finally revisit the menu again and ensure it fits tightly with the whole restaurant design.

If the above were a car, we will first settle the concept - a flying car that lifts in traffic. Next is the development of the core thing that turns the car into a flying machine and yet a car. Then the overall design of the car. And finally develop the other peripheral elements of the car.

Remember that beauty is only for marketing, if you're immerse yourself too much into it and loose function, you would have lost the point of the whole thing. Performance is the only lasting reason why customers would come back to buy from you again and again. It is your last joker so use it wisely!

By Tayo Gbenro.

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