The Wow Factor as a Business Strategy

What is the Wow Factor?

Everybody knows the term ‘The Wow Factor’, but most will find it difficult to give a thorough definition. Typically, people would apply the phrase to design or entertainment as a term for the little bit of extra ‘wow’ on top of a project or performance. Something that stands out. But it doesn’t have to be confined to these spaces. Any business can offer the wow factor, it’s just a matter of determining what it is for yours.

Google defines the wow factor as ‘a quality or feature that is extremely impressive’

The Cambridge Dictionary definition is ​’a quality or ​feature of something that makes ​people ​feel ​great​ excitement or ​admiration.”

The important keywords are a ‘quality’ and a ‘feature.’ While the goal of the wow factor is to make people feel excitement or become impressed, what is it that makes a quality or feature provide these feelings above other qualities or features? The answer lay in the detail of the feature. In its simplest form:

The wow factor is offering something special that nobody else offers.

More specifically – it is offering something none of your competitors offer. Offering something that is not a core feature of your business, but just a little icing on top of your service or product. It sets you apart – makes people remember you.

The wow factor does not have to be ostentatious. In fact, smaller items may count for more. But how and where can one add a wow factor to their brand?

How to successfully employ the wow factor with your brand

Choose A Feature That Will Reinforce your Brand

Generally, the ‘wow’ feature should be in line with your business to reinforce your service or product. An example would be for a car wash business. The first person to leave an air freshener after a car wash was employing the wow factor. This provides a difference to what your competitors offer and reinforces your strength as a top player in the field.

If You Can’t, Get Creative

If you can’t find an area where you can add something special that is in line with your business, for instance if everything is covered, you may have to think outside the square. Take cigarette companies as an example. Back in the 60’s, with the explosion of tobacco companies, new measures were taken to differentiate from one another in the form of pin-up girl cards inside packets. While this is illegal now at the time it was revolutionary. People from that era still talk about them in a nostalgic way.

Don’t Flaunt it

A real wow factor needs no flaunting. Subtlety is more effective. If you don’t mention it then it is up to the consumer to notice it. There is a chance that they might not but the impact of someone realising something you’ve done for them without you telling them is way more meaningful than telling them.

Understand Wow Factors are temporary

Greater exposure to a new feature reduces the wow until it becomes null. Like the air fresheners of the car wash, your competitors will either adopt your approach or over time consumers will start to see your wow offering as a standard offering and no longer appreciate it for it’s beauty. Like all things, wow can not last forever.

Be Dynamic

Related to the above, in order to continue to stand above your competitors you will need to update or change your feature as the old one loses its pizzazz. The best approach is to plan ahead: have a plan. Put together a list of features and a timeframe in which one expires and another is adopted. Make a list of 5 – 10 and put them on a 3 month cycle that you rotate infinitely. People will generally forget anything that isn’t constant if enough time has passed. When you rotate back to the start of the cycle your special feature will have almost as much “wow” to it as it did when you first applied it. McDonalds is a good example of this – they introduce burgers for limited times on a cycle which is usually met with a drive in sales.


Don’t Tie you Feature to Another Feature

What do I mean? For example – when the Olympics is on, every business has an Olympic special. Chances are your competitors are going to have one too. Find something unique but important and link your feature to that.

Final Comments

While it’s great to think about this additional feature as a great factor for your business it’s important not to dwell on it – your core features are your business. Get them set first and then start to think about the WOW.