The Emotional Power Of Frisbees

The Emotional Power Of Frisbees

Last week’s passing of Fred Morrison, inventor of the Frisbee, unearthed a pretty startling statistic: Not including knockoffs and imitations, over 250 million Frisbees have been sold since 1957.

Given the context, the time period, that’s an amazing number for a plastic airfoil with gyro action.

What can an old toy teach us about value propositions? A lot.


Why has the Frisbee endured? Because it’s fun. It’s a joy to use. And it’s more versatile than Morrison ever imagined.

From Ultimate Frisbee to Frisbee golf courses, from playing with friends and family to playing catch with your dog, the Frisbee is a value-packed cornerstone to having a good time in good weather.

Not So Easy

Ask anyone in b2c and they’ll tell you — creating that kind of emotional value proposition isn’t easy. It means excelling at every important point of customer contact, from the design of the product itself to the support and service you provide.

I’m most familiar with the b2c arena, and that’s where you usually find the most common examples of emotional value propositions: Apple, for example; Harley Davidson. But do emotions only play in b2c, or can they play a role in b2b, too?

I Admit, The Process Is Different

After all, business buyers aren’t buying on impulse or simply window-shopping; if they’re looking, it’s because they intend to buy. And the buying process is completely different, typically with many more steps than “saw a banner, clicked to buy”.

But that doesn’t mean it’s unemotional.

Nobody Ever Got Fired For Buying IBM

Feeling attractive, looking cool — those emotions work in the consumer space; probably not so much in b2b. But what about an emotion like trust? Of reliability? Of helping someone feel superior to their counterparts? Or more secure in their jobs?

Those are not typical consumer emotions. And one could argue that they’re more “objective” than making someone feel “sexy”. But that doesn’t mean they’re not emotions.

Are you involved in b2b product marketing? What are your thoughts?

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Christopher Cummings

Blogs about product management. Loves Jesus, his family, comic books, video games, and giant robots. Occasionally crawls through mud and leaps over fire.

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