Hermes Birkins handbag
I had thought that it was crazy for women to pay a small fortune: equivalent to a car’s worth, for a designer handbag, but seeing the Hermes Birkin on the arm of every female manager and above during one of my internships in Hong Kong proved me wrong. Ultimately, I think 4 themes consist the desirability of the Birkin as a product: brand recognition, prestige, value, and peer pressure. First, the Birkin carries the Hermes name, which with its history and celebrity endorsement, essentially brands anything coming out of it with an instantaneous golden halo for female consumers. Next, prestige follows close behind as the price of this bag is a status symbol amongst the buyers, who often fight over limited edition bags. The trick here is, not to overproduce, but to make just enough to keep the prices growing and demand (as well as waitlist) high. Third, the bag actually has to have physical value in its design for such desirability. While the margins that the company make on the bag is definitely much better than WalMart, it still uses quality and authentic leathers and hand-craftsmanship to add that touch. Additionally, aesthetically, the shape of the bag is simple and streamlined, with few embellishments to accentuate the functionality of the bag as well as its design. Lastly, as I had seen in Hong Kong, when everyone else has a designer bag, peer pressure is an invisible but strictly enforcing dress code. Thus, seeing others with this bag seem to make others desire to possess it as well.
Google Maps App
The Google Maps app for the iPhone has just always been there, that is, until it was temporarily replaced with Apple Maps during recent updates of the iPhone5. Something that had been taken for granted for so long suddenly became desirable when compared to its subpar replacement, Apple Maps. While for the Birkin bag, a simple and streamlined design was a key ingredient to its desirability, for google maps, it’s anything but simple. The app contained very detailed information with numerous options for views and routes. However, what ties it together so well is that the application anticipates what the user would most want to use and brings that up in the most obvious way possible. For example, when a user searches a location, the default route is from the current location to that destination, which eliminates a couple of steps the user would have had to set otherwise. Additionally, while Google maps contain details on the names of every street corner, it appropriately shows the correct granularity for the zoom settings. While there are still a lot of words and names on the screen, it is easier for the user to discern and interpret. All of this functionality make people “lazy” and take for granted the shortcuts that google maps provides. However, if this is taken away, then the true desirability value of the app comes out as people quickly miss it. Lastly, accuracy, especially in an application primarily used to find locations, is not only necessary but also desirable.
What makes zipcar desirable is that it is extremely desirable for its intended audience, people living in cities or universities who only need cars for several hours at a time. Before car sharing, there really was no solution for this intended population thus the functionality and purpose of Zipcars really made it highly desirable amongst college students and young city-goers. Additionally, the great incorporation of web and wireless communications set up in the cars make the process of using zipcar easy and painless, which adds to its desirability. The fact that just tapping on the car with a membership card activates the session makes life a lot easier and more accessible for the users. Moreover, Zipcar’s price is very straightforward, pay by the hour and don’t need to worry about paying for gas, makes it easier for users to comprehend and more hassle-free. Considering that the Zipcar audience is young adults in more urban areas, these characteristics combined make Zipcar very desirable and useful for them.
Name: Cecilia Cao