How a little bit of intrigue can transform your product

My wife found a brand new book in our local library on a recent visit with our kids – it is titled: The Lost Book of Adventure – a good enough title to keep two young boys entertained for a few hours surely – so she took it out.

I picked up the book (initially at the prompting of my wife) and started reading the note from the editor – below is the first paragraph:

Four years ago whilst trekking with friends through a remote part of the Amazon we stumbled across an old hut. In the corner of the dwelling buried under some fallen palms we found a metal case, sealed shut by years of rust. Intrigued, we carefully opened it. Inside was a collection of notebooks, journals and various sketchbooks – all incredibly well preserved given the environment. We didn’t realise it then, but we had stumbled across the lifetime’s work of an unknown artist and adventurer

And with that, you are swept away into a world of imagination and intrigue. Immediately, what could have been just another book on a few outdoor survival tips for children, was transformed into something magical and different – yes after a while as an adult you do start to realise that the likelihood of the story being true is more unlikely than likely – but they have done such an incredible job continuing to build on that initial intrigue through the little stories ‘shared’ by the Unknown Adventurer through a combination of illustrations, captions and mini-stories that it’s hard to stop paging through all 192 pages of the book. In fact, we’ve ordered our own version to have for ourselves.

It did get me thinking though about how much intrigue or even delight do you design into your product experience – especially right up front? And here I am not talking about some growth techniques to ‘hook’ your customers and keep them coming back for more (potentially against their better judgement) like lots of products are tending to use these days — but just actually making the experience something people would want to write about online and/or share with others via word-of-mouth.

I know in this specific case our whole family will most likely end up with a copy of this book – just because of the effort the authors put into taking something that could have been possibly mundane and transforming it into something intriguing and delightful.