Getting Visceral in Wetsuits

This week’s New York Times talks about how wet suit makers are moving beyond addressing only the Behavioral elements of their products to embrace the Visceral and Reflective aspects as well.  Instead of cranking out old-style suits that make a surfer’s bottom look like a tube of dried chorizo, manufacturers like O’Neill are making sexy new products out of new materials and shapes designed to flatter the body.

John Hunter, designer at O’Neill, says it best in this quote from the article:

You’re inside a super-hip, state-of-the-art, rubber human-body girdle, looking cooler and stronger and slimmer and better and feeling it, too.  If, as a result of that, you get some extra love, we’re fine with that.

When offerings in your industry start to deliver more functionality than users need, it’s time to take a deliberate approach to differentiating your product by paying attention to its Visceral and Reflective components.  You need to design the whole burrito and put some love into it.