Tangible Things Don’t Sell By Themselves

by Jay Deragon on 04/30/2013

somethjing intangible

Advertisers attempt to add value to a product by communicating the intangible benefits. Sometimes the message in an ad has nothing to do with the product but tries to create an association to intangible value that attracts buyers so as to create an affinity to the actual product offered. Why do advertisers do this? Because they know that communicating intangibles in words, images and sounds create a strong pull than the tangible products by themselves.

The same applies to why people want to work for one company vs. another. Pay and benefits are tangible. Culture, intrinsic rewards, identity, flexible work hours and recognition are intangible benefits.  Both are important but it is the intangible’s that makes the biggest difference between one company and another.  Yet the bulk of businesses fail at building their intangible values which would attract and keep not only key employees but loyal customers.

People like to get paid and they usually like the stuff they buy. But what they remember and share is the experiences they have at work and with the things they buy. Experience is the intangible thing that gets created from the tangible things.  If you don’t measure, monitor and manage the intangibles then you can’t be sure the intangibles are creating the experience that satisfies the buyer. Neither can you be sure that the organization will be able to attract and retain the right talent.

Tangible things don’t sell by themselves. It takes human, strategic, structural and relationship capital that transforms intangible value into tangible things that people will remember. That is an experience with a purpose that the human network can identify with and share.

Advertising and marketing is designed to sell products and services by communicating the intangibles, recruiting talent and keeping them is about focusing on the intangibles, attracting and keeping customers is about levering intangibles as the attraction.
Lets see, that pretty much covers everything of importance to any business so are businesses measuring and monitoring the intangibles? No. And business wonders why the results aren’t what they want them to be.

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