Innovation Could Mean Competing on Delight

My husband and I are in the market for a larger apartment. We’ve done our homework: figured out our desired neighborhood, calculated our budget, and estimated the minimum square footage we’re after. We’ve found that our budget allows us to consider 80% of the apartments in our fairly reasonable search criteria. 

Some people have asked us, "What features are you looking for? Garbage disposal? The fancy countertops? Hardwood flooring?" I never know what to make of these questions. “Sure!” I say, “All of those sound great.”

The truth is that we’re never going to pick an apartment based on the presence of a garbage disposal. 

After you’re done competing on price, and after you’re done competing on features, you’re left to compete on delight. 

We want an apartment that feels home-y. One that has the uniquely beautiful tree out front. Or the adorable little nook that I know will be perfect for Sunday morning coffee. If that apartment is 5% more than the last place we saw and we lose the sub zero refrigerator, I don’t really care, because we’re already out of the price and features games. I’m in it for the butterflies now.

Of course, it’s still perfectly fine to compete on price or features if that’s your market and that’s how you win, but beware of when your competitors start creeping up and out of those games. Our CEO, Tim, often speaks about his work for a shampoo line that was more expensive and not any more effective than the others on the shelf, but the bottle looked like a fish. So, it transformed kids’ bath time from a tortured evening chore into aquatic adventure. Turns out many parents value their sanity at more than the $2.00 premium.

How does your company compete? What game are you in?