Why you should sell the superpower, not the magic potion

The story of features v/s benefit is an age old discussion. A lot of articles have successfully defined both. Feature is ‘something that your product does’ and Benefit is “why your product provides value to users’.

People don’t want a laptop that is lightweight, has xxx memory, can be carried anywhere. They don’t want a macbook air … They want to possess the superpower of using a laptop that they can carry in their envelope!

People want to be superheroes, and they will pay for a product that makes them one.

There are several articles focussed on correctly framing features vs benefits. One of the best images that I have come across is this one. (One of the inspirations for writing this blog!)

If you take a look at the magic potion analogy from Asterix comics. The magic potion gives the person drinking it amazing super powers. The person becomes invincible and unbeatable till the potion wears out. That is what people are looking for. Imagine a case where such a potion was available, users would not really care what the features of the potion are, as long as its making them invincible, people will be willing to pay for it.

Older people sit down and ask, ‘What is it?’ but the boy asks, ‘What can I do with it?’.
– Steve Jobs

Telling users that the iPhone will have a 24 hr battery life really doesn’t create an impact.

Is 24 hrs battery better than others? Do I want to pay more for this? I’m happy to charge my battery. after 8 hours if it saves me couple of hundred dollars.

But if you tell users that they can now use facetime to see their grandchild who stays in another country using the latest iPhone, then that makes them a superhero!

Here is an article from Hubspot that addresses this point.

There are several such products that aim to make superheroes out of their users.

1) Slack says “Be less busy“. They make superheroes of their users by assuring them that using slack means they have more free time at hand.

2) Buffer makes their users smarter by providing a ‘Smarter way to share’ on social media.

3) Meerkat has a simple line — “Tweet Live Video”

4) While building Sokasu — we are planning to use “Unclutter Social Media

This fundamental fact can be leveraged during the product building stage and also in the product marketing stage. In the product build stage and marketing stage, you should identify the following:

a) What is the one super power that our product will provide?

b) Is the product or the specific feature something that will simply make life easier for people or will it drastically improve it?

c) Can we eliminate the features that are useful but not giving super powers to users, and only focus on building the ones that are? (MVP)

d) Are we communicating the ingredients of the magic potion or are we successfully communicating to the user the superhero that they will become when they drink our magic potion?

What more questions can be asked? Please write them in the comments section!


Connect with me on @shwaytaj.

I would like to hear from you about any other features that you think we can add to this list. Please feel free to share any experiences, updates or suggestions in the comments.


Social media is cluttered. Get trends, social updates on your favourite topics from influencers on those topics with Sokasu. Unclutter social media content! Follow us on twitter @getsokasu


Originally published at blog.sokasu.com on April 15, 2015.