In this week’s blog I’ll be taking a look at chapter 7, Envy, in the book ‘Evil By Design’. It was provided to me by one of my fellow students in line with his masters’ thesis. In it, Chris Nodder, the author, describes how we can achieve or trigger each of the seven deadly sins in designing something.
In this specific chapter he puts forward 8 ways to make it so some of your customers feel a sense of envy in line with your product. They are: creating desirability, aspiration, pre-ownership, creating status differences, emphasize achievement, encourage payment over achievement, design status advertisement and creating a sense of importance.
I like how in a certain way, he doesn’t just rely on the fact that the sins are just bad or evil by default. The author makes the distinction between destructive envy (bad) and benign envy (good). It is important to make sure the former does not come forward in its extreme form.
The first way, creating desirability, is the same as the basics of marketing. Making sure it’s good to look at, saying it can solve your audience their problems and associating it with a lifestyle most people look up to, has been the foundation of advertising since a long time. Creating aspiration is somewhat the same I feel as creating desire, but only in a totally positive way.
Making people feel pre-ownership is a phenomenon that is relatively new I find, as it is amplified so much through the possibilities of the Internet. Because it is now so easy for developers of something to present their product online and keep their investors updated on everything this form of product investment has become so much easier. A lot of successful videogames have been made in through channels like Kickstarter.
Status difference, I think, is the best way to achieve envy. Being jealous of the status that someone enjoys is something that even goes back to high school. We all had the some peers in our teenage years that were much more popular than us. In that sense, status differences is something that we’ve dealt with our entire life yet are still susceptible to.
Earning achievement and paying for it, is something that I’m very familiar with in online games and I think has its place if it is handled correctly. High-end achievements should never be able to be bought because that way you take away a lot of prestige associated with it. If it’s impossible to distinguish between players who earned something the fair way and those who bought it, you’re not incentivising the former group to actually work towards it. This ties in with letting people advertise their status as well. It should be possible for people to show off what they’ve earned but again, you should take caution here that this does not create negative feelings if that status is a bought one.
Lastly making people feel important is, I think the most crucial one as it creates an immense brand loyalty with your customers. Making them feel appreciated and giving attention to their inputs, will make it so they will definitely come back to you.
All in all, this was a very interesting chapter. I’m curious what Anders will put forward tomorrow in his explanation of his thesis.