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As we've all been told many times, features aren't important in themselves, rather they're important for benefits they confer. Yet, benefits tend to dead-end, that is, there's a tendency to stop analyzing once we've identified them.
Thinking of consequences, rather than benefits, helps extend our analyses to another level, to values. Admittedly, this may be as much about semantics as substance, but nevertheless it matters.
From another perspective, consequences help us move from concrete to abstract. We can touch or experience features directly; that takes no imagination. Values, on other hand, are all in mind; they can't be touched or experienced in same way.
For example, wash your hair with this shampoo, which contains ingredient X-15 (a feature) and you'll feel more confident (a consequence) when you go out for an evening, and a feeling of confidence helps you enjoy social occasions (a value satisfier, and ultimate result).
You've no doubt seen this strategy used in shampoo commercials and display ads. Which makes sense, because most of us don't value nice hair for its own sake; we value it for social reasons.
In summary, understanding connection between features and values, through consequences, helps make our communication more effective.
Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at: http://www.communication-newsletter.com