How We Helped Intel Make a Hard Drive Sexy

Let’s face it. Cool sells.

When you can package your product and give it an upscale image, the perceived value goes up in the mind of the market. It can also be the very thing that makes people want to try your product.

Just look at Apple’s iPod, the Volkswagon Beetle Convertible, or the latest flat screen TVs. The cool factor raises the desirability of the product. Stop by any cosmetics counter during the holiday season. Packaging can make a half-ounce bottle of scent worth hundreds of dollars.

A wise product marketing manager working at Intel knew this. Now, Intel is not the first company you think of when you discuss cool product packaging. As the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, they specialize in electronic parts that go inside other companies’ cool products. Generally, their design is functional, not inspiring.

They were working to introduce a new line of computer storage drives that were solid state. (Don’t worry, I won’t start tech talking. Just get the idea of a super, super fast hard drive that has no moving parts and weighs 1/2 of what a typical drive weighs.)

They were not the first company to produce this type of drive, so they knew that they had to make a splash when they brought their product to market.

Their team of genius engineers did their part and created a drive that was 100 times faster than a typical hard drive and faster than anything the competition offered.

What they needed next was a dose of cool. That’s when they came to Sentium.

The result was a sleek black-on-black design with a sweeping curve on the case. Reports are that when engineers at computer companies such as Dell, Acer, and Hewlett-Packard first saw the drive, there were audible reactions, “Wow…this is cool!” The potential customers evaluating the product had a strong, positive first impression.

They couldn’t wait to see the drive in action. When they did, they discovered that the product performance was as hot as the package.

Mission Accomplished.

The result? Intel is now shipping these new drives as fast as they can make them. And yes, they are selling at premium prices. Millions of them will work their way into customers’ hands in the next 12 months.

That’s what happens when you combine a really good product with packaging that sets it above the competition.

(As a bonus, we just learned that our sexy drive just won the Consumer Electronics Show Design and Engineering award.)

How can you apply this to your business? What if you’re not selling a technology product? What if you’re not even selling a product but instead a service?

The rules are the same.

Premium packaging says premium product or service. It also allows you to charge premium prices and make premium margins.

Ask yourself, how can you add some “cool” to your current offering? Don’t be afraid of being a little outrageous. This is often where innovative ideas are born.

While staying at a Florida Resort I discovered that the suite I chose came with a personal valet. Upon arrival, I was informed that her job was to assure that I had a pleasant stay that was “distraction free.” Beside the usual daily room cleaning, I would return in the evening to find everything in order, my bed turned-down, a mineral drink to help me sleep soundly, and a hand written note.

One off-handed comment from me resulted in bananas being forever banished from the fresh fruit bowl and replaced by my favorite type of apples. Wow.

Now, you’ve got to know that all the over-the-top service scored very high on the cool scale. It turned a very nice stay into an exceptional one. It more than justified the premium price I happily paid. And yes, I will be visiting again.

So, increase your product’s perceived value, and enhance your customer’s experience by adding an extra level of cool. This could be the difference between a good result and an exceptional one.

Are you developing a new product or service that could use some expert design help? Or, are you looking for ways to create a high-end version of an already successful product or service? Do what Intel did.

Call Sentium. (800) 595-1288.

To your business success,


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Richard Wilson is the Founder/Chief Marketing Strategist for Sentium Strategic Communications which helps companies craft the right message for extraordinary results. Over the past 31 years, his clients have ranged from start-ups to major technology companies.



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