Oct. 19, 2012
The cool, crisp air and falling leaves are sure signs that fall is in full swing and Halloween is quickly approaching. Since I can remember, Halloween has been celebrated with pumpkin carving, hay rides, haunted houses and, of course, trick-or-treating. Wondering where all these traditions originated, I did a little research on the haunting holiday.
I found that there is a vast disconnect between Halloween as we know it today and its original roots. The traditions of fall and Halloween date back to medieval Ireland. Once known as Samhain, the Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter now lives in the shadows of costumes, candy and glowing jack-o’-lanterns.
This same disconnect can also be seen in the way we consume products. This is especially apparent in certain industries, such as the beauty product industry. For instance, the practical purpose of soap is health and hygiene, but our purchase decisions are often based on other attributes, such as the scent, the brand or even a commercial like this one. When purchasing soap, its ability to clean or the scientific facts of its chemical makeup are less of a factor than the way it makes us feel. Personally, I’m much more concerned with the scent than anything else.
Successful marketers understand that it’s important to emphasize more than simply the practical purposes of a product. Often the secondary characteristics are even more important than the original ones.
The reasons we love Halloween are only loosely tied to the holiday’s origins but that doesn’t mean our joy when celebrating the holiday is any less real. If anything, the traditions of Halloween as we know them today are more important than its cobweb-covered past. Just like with Halloween, marketers need to recognize when the primary benefits of a product aren’t its practical uses, but secondary characteristics like brand affinity, pleasing design and the overall emotional experience. By correctly focusing your marketing messages on those things, you’ll better connect to the real reason that people purchase your product.
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