The Incredible Secret to Why We Buy Things (Spoiler: it's Stories!)

The Incredible Secret to Why We Buy Things (Spoiler: it's Stories!)

Marianne had been worried that her department’s meetings had become directionless. She had the idea to run a brainstorming workshop. But she wasn’t sure how.

She lacked confidence. She had never done anything like this before. What would the best approach be? Marianne felt stuck and overwhelmed.

There was so much noise online, everything seemed too complicated or involved.

Marianne told her husband Tom about her predicament. Tom’s face lit up, and he dug into his bag. He had recently got his beta deck of Workshop Tactics.

That evening they sat together and went through the cards. It wasn’t long before Marianne had a clear idea of what to do, and how to do it. She had never felt excited to run a department meeting before!

Later that week, Marianne ran her workshop. And it couldn’t have gone better. Her boss had asked her where she had got all her ideas from! Her workshop was the talk of the office. She was already planning her next one.

. . .

Tom told me this story last year, and recounted a quote from Marianne:

“It went so well because they’re simple tactics. The cards gave me ideas and the confidence to pull it off”

This brought about a great realisation (though not a new one):

What you buy: Workshop prompts on card.
Why you buy it: To boost your confidence.

It’s the same reason we buy anything. If it works as promised - it moves us. It makes you feel something that changes you for the better.

Take another physical object, such as a Ferrari.

What does a Ferrari do? It gets you from A to B.
Why do people buy a Ferrari? To make you feel like a million dollars.

But you don’t have to buy something to reap the same effects. A track-day in a Ferrari might be all you need.

Tom shared his cards with Marianne and gave her confidence. Marianne imparts the same feeling to her colleagues, and so on. Positive emotions become infectious, and we have to share it with others. It’s a positive-sum game.

We don't purchase things just for their function. We buy them for how they make us feel, and more importantly - how we can make others feel.

The secret: we buy emotion and personal transformation, not function and features.

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