Marketing guru Seth Godin recently published this value
triangle on his blog:
No matter what business you’re in, it’s worth giving some thought to this. What do you offer?
At the bottom of the triangle is function. A hotel room functions as a place
to sleep. A smartphone functions as a device to make calls, send text messages,
and download some apps. A condominium functions as a place to live, eat, sleep, have sex, and so on. But all functions being equal, most of us will buy whatever product is the cheapest.
That is until there’s an emotional connection. I love the
way Seth frames it: “Where do people like me do things like this?” It is about defining
who you are. Am I the kind of person who buys A or am I the kind of person who buys
B? If I care deeply about the environment and B promises to respect that, I am
likely to buy B.
But then, moving even further up the triangle, if two items offer the same function and the
same emotional connection, many of us will go for the one that appears sexier, shinier (the new iPhone 7 is very shiny), and more
stylish. It just deepens the connection.
Finally, at the very top of the triangle is now. This is
about scarcity. What’s hot right now?
Think of that new restaurant that just opened downtown that you haven’t been
able to get a table at. It’s now and you want to Instagram the food so badly so
that you can show everyone you were there. You want to be now.
The point of all of this is that we consume things for
reasons that go well beyond simple function. That’s just the start of it all.
One could argue that all of this is simply smoke and mirrors, but that’s a
topic for another blog post. This is our reality.
To relate this topic back to architecture and real estate, I
am curious how many of you have made a housing decision that you believe went
beyond function. How much of it was based on connection and style?
Not surprisingly, for me, architecture and design matter a
Earlier this summer I was driving around the city with my
father and he was pointing out to me all of the new build single family homes
that were sprouting up. He then asked me what I thought of them. I responded: “They’re
What I was really saying with that glib remark was that
those homes – no matter how expensive – didn’t reflect my own belief system
about the world. Sure they served their function, but they didn’t offer the
connection and style that “people like me” like to praise. To borrow once again
from Seth: we are all part of a certain tribe.
What tribe do you belong to? And does your housing choice