Emotions Fueling Desire and Advocacy


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Of all the ingredients we use, our avocados have to be the most temperamental. Treat them badly and they just don’t taste right. That’s why they have a huge ripening room all to themselves and why our avocado chap turns each one of them by hand, everyday. It makes sure they ripen evenly and that every bite of avo is a perfect one. Pret Passion Fact #41
Pret-a-manger, the highly successful sandwich shop in the UK, used posters like this to stimulate desire.
Imagine this scenario. You walk in the shop trying to decide what to have for lunch and as you stand in line you read the above poster. The likelihood that you become emotionally engaged increases substantially as does the likelihood that you have avocado in you sandwich.
With some clever writing, the folks at Pret-a-manger pulled an emotional trigger, but they did more. They make it very clear that their goal is to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Often when someone returns from lunch a colleague or co-worker asks “How was lunch?” Frequently the answer is a nondescript, “It was OK.” If someone read the poster and had avocado, the answer is much more likely to be, “Fantastic, next time you go to Pret-a-manger have the avocado…”
Pret has not only fueled desire, they fueled advocacy.

John Todor
John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the Managing Partner of the MindShift Innovation, a firm that helps executives confront the volatility and complexity of the marketplace. We engage executives in a process that tackles two critical challenges: envisioning new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers and, fostering employee engagement in the innovation and alignment of business practices to deliver on the new possibilities. Follow me on Twitter @johntodor


  1. John

    Pret a Manger is one of the many examples of superior branded experiences showcased in Smith & Milligan’s book Uncommon Practice.

    The avocado story points out how important cognitive cues are in non-consciously triggering feelings that support the branded experience.

    Their follow-on book, See, Feel, Think, Do takes this a step further by looking at the chain of effects that our senses trigger in support of our perceptions of individual touchpoints, service episodes and customer experiences.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

  2. Graham,

    This approach is distinct from many customer experience initiatives that try to delight the customer by trying to find out what will make the customer happy and delivering it. Here, Pret invites the customer into a new context by reaching them emotionally. The first approach is reactive an tough to get right. Pret’s approach is more proactive, not always easy to get right but can be guided by solid principles of what leads to emotional engagement.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.
    Author of Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company.


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