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Posted by on Oct 14, 2009 in Branding | 0 comments

Harry Potter and the Awe Moment Spell


The Harry Potter franchise has not captivated me like it has most other people I know. In fact, to see what all the fuss was about, my parents bought the first in the series for my birthday. While I only cracked the book to read the first couple pages, my parents whizzed through them like they were mere pamphlets.

But there is a small tribe of people, like me, that restrict their Harry Potter interest to the movie theaters. In the past, I’ve been somewhat reserved in feeling that the films are OK. I never got into the print series and a typical film rendition isn’t going to change my mind. That’s what I thought until I saw the last Potter film, The Half Blood Prince.

There were five to ten seconds in the film where I had an awe moment. It was when Dumbledore (the wizard / headmaster) waved his wand and fire encircled Potter and the headmaster—burning the zombies crawling at their feet.

This was by far an awe moment for me. I said, “Wow.” Quite embarrassing in a movie theatre. This awe moment resonated with me even further after I left the movie theatre. Discussing it with my girlfriend, I realized this one five to ten seconds of awe-striking, jaw dropping action trickled down into my Harry Potter schema.

No longer is a typical Harry Potter film to be expected for the next release. My view on the franchise went from “eh,” to “wow.” This one moment made such an impression on me that every time I meet someone who has seen the film, I have to mention it—and sometimes for those who haven’t.

It is these moments that are critical for brands to capture. Typically, it’s the negative five to ten seconds that resonates most with consumers. Turning back the clock on those very impressionable moments when we make our “final” judgment is very difficult. We can offer outstanding customer service, maybe throw in a couple of free-bees to soften consumer anger, but it’s impossible to completely turn back time.

If your brand can capture a positive awe moment, well, you have a very forgiving customer. Consider Apple. They have an incredible value proposition and deliver on it with nearly every evolution of products. Think about the release of the iPhone. The creative-driven computer company revolutionized what it meant to have a mobile phone. In essence, when consumers looked at the product for the first time, they had an awe moment. It was five to ten seconds where they said, either internally or to a friend, “this is awesome.”

They created hundreds of thousands of awe moments across the world. Now, even if Apple delivers an average product to the market, consumers will still be clamoring over it. That one awe moment made such a lasting impression, consumers would be willing to waste their dollars for products that are average. Don’t be fooled, however. Just because you’ve created an awe moment, doesn’t mean you’re invincible. Enough bad experiences in a row can turn any consumer against a brand.

There were a five to ten second period where we make the decision that yes this is amazing or it’s par or hits below our standards. It’s the goal of brands to capture that one, decisive moment where the consumer makes up their mind about your product or service. Making that top tier, where a consumer has an awe-moment should be the goal for all those in the product and service businesses.

Just as poor customer experiences can tarnish brand perception for the long-term, awe-moments can do something similar. Though it might be more difficult to over-deliver on consumer expectations, understanding your customer experiences and history will help you develop a strategy to make an awe-worthy product.

By Alice from Stock.Xchng

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