While we would all like to believe that we place much greater emphasis on the utility of a product over its aesthetic appearance, there’s no denying that the outward looks of a product go a long way in influencing our buying decisions. Even if you had one of the fastest and most fuel-efficient cars in the world, you may not be quite so inclined to buy it if you also thought that it was the ugliest vehicle that this planet has ever seen.
The aesthetic appeal of any given product is largely a matter of personal preference. What may be appealing to one person may be absolutely deplorable to another person. The key, then, is marketing and positioning your product in such a way that you can make it appear as appealing as possible to as many people as possible. Perhaps one of the best examples of this exceptional marketing technique is Apple.
With the first generation iPod nano, Apple outfitted the device with either a glossy black or glossy white front, coupled with a chrome back. It was attractive, to be sure, but it also served as a fingerprint magnet. For the second generation nano, they replaced the housing with bright colors all the way around. People liked the fact that it no longer attracted fingerprints, but it just didn’t have the same svelte appearance as the first-gen.
Then along came the third-generation iPod nano. It is smaller and “chubbier” than its predecessors, but the color scheme is some combination of the two. It has the fingerprint-attracting chrome on the back, but colorful cases for the front. What was old (chrome) became new again. As we anticipate the announcement of the fourth-generation iPod nano, industry analysts are saying that Apple will once again “stretch” the form factor back into the elongated rectangle of the first two generations. Again, what was old is new again. It’s all in the marketing.
When designing, positioning, and marketing your products, don’t be afraid to look into your past for what worked the best. What was old can be repositioned as new again. Like a new nano.