Fun Theory

Published On November 9, 2009 | By mbalogh | Blog, Uncategorized

What does a piano staircase, an arcade recycling bin, and the worlds deepest trash can have in common?  People use them.

Volkswagen has dedicated a web site, , to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.  To do this they’ve enlisted your help.  And to reward you for your efforts, as if changing the world for the better was not enough, they created The Fun Theory award — a €2,500 incentive designed to engage and energize the world.

So far, so good.  The Fun Theory has gotten many interesting entries.  From a recycling bin that acts like an arcade game, to a trash bin that sounds 1000 feet deep.  They’ve encouraged people to take the stairs by making them musical and encouraged people to recycle paper by shredding it into a giant snow globe.  Want to stay fit?  How about racing your friends on a treadmill or in place bicycle.  All good things turned fun.  It’s like melting cheese on your vegetables, only healthier.

The take away here is that consumer experience matters, and that can be applied directly to your product or service.  Just this week, for instance, I had new windows installed in my house.  The people doing it were great, and they did a great job.  While there, making small talk, they asked me about the windows and why we decided to upgrade.  When I gave them our reason, we have a new baby who would be crawling around on the floor this winter, they made sure to point out how well they insulated and sealed all the openings to make sure he stays warm.  They made sure to use drop cloths and, when done, they vacuumed up all evidence of the installation so it’d be safe for him later that day.  Same product, different experience, catered to my needs — and I’m a happy customer.  I would not only use these installers again, I’d recommend them to my friends.

This is Marketing 2.0.  Finding out why people do the things they do and making sure to meet the needs they need met.  In the case of my windows, the installers may have done all the things they pointed out anyway; I’m sure many installers do.  Sealing windows tight and cleaning-up sounds pretty common, but taking the time (15 seconds or so) to reassure me, the customer, let me know they were listening.

Same windows, different experience, happy customer.  How can you apply this to your organization?

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2 Responses to Fun Theory

  1. Joseph Balogh says:

    I love the idea of “Behavior First” marketing. Give the people what they want! What a novel concept! If you meet people’s needs, you will get their business…period. How do you meet people’s needs? By listening…really listening.

    • mbalogh says:

      Exactly. Listening is key. Giving the people what they want, however, is more difficult then it seems. I have one client, for instance, whom provided a reasonably detailed spec. of exactly what they want but, through conversation and listening, it’s apparent what they supplied not exactly what they need. What we’ve done to marry the two concepts is to understand the behavior and needs of those who will actually be using the product in order to integrate the needs and wants as seamlessly as possible. It’s tricky thing, but ultimately I believe it’s necessary to make a superior product that people will use.

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