Unicist Functionalist Approach

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Attractors Building: Designing the Contagiousness of Products and Services

Designing the contagiousness of the use value of a product or service allows building “attractors” that accelerate the speed of growth in the market. It is what allows establishing the word of mouth in the market. This technology is needed for innovative, and differentiated products or services.

The gravitational force of the contagiousness of a product or service is given by being inserted in a trend that satisfies the consumer latent needs. Satisfying latent needs implies covering the implicit weaknesses of products and services.

The reference group (influencer) that sustains this trend is the one that establishes a framework of influence that catalyzes the contagiousness.

What is contagious in a product or service is something that makes it extremely “smart”. It is something new, but at the same time so obvious that it generates the irrepressible desire to “appropriate it”, under the expression “How didn’t I think of it!”.

Therefore, to produce contagion and keep the benefits of it, you need to have the necessary brand-power, to be able to have the critical mass to not only have the costs but also enjoy the benefits.

In plain language, what is contagious is “the idea”, in technical terms, it is its concept that is implicit in the product or service. It has to be considered that any value proposition made to a person is recognized by the Conceptual Short-Term Memory (CSTM) that uses the concepts stored in the Long-Term Memory (LTM).

A product or service is contagious because it is extremely smart, extremely empathetic, and extremely sympathetic to the consumer. In other words, it is an obvious and unexpected solution that everyone needs and wants to hear about.

Extreme examples are the paradigmatic cases of the early stages of:

  • Ipod
  • Netflix
  • Airbnb
  • Uber
  • The Internet

Extreme Smartness

The solution is taken as a desirable innovation, that is what makes it smart, and it starts generating an expansion of the consumer’s social role, while on the other hand, it satisfies their emotional needs.

The consumers in the very act of incorporating the “idea”, elevate their social role, empowering themselves with the new solution in their environment.

On the other hand, the fact that makes this implicit innovation in the product or service desirable, is that it does not imply a change in the person, because in some way, the solution complements their emotional needs and therefore satisfies them.

The Extreme Empathy

Extreme empathy occurs when the product or service satisfies functional needs of the consumer, which implies, on the one hand, that it satisfies social needs and, on the other hand, that it satisfies instinctive needs.

Each product has implicit in its category the type of social needs to be covered, as well as the type of instincts it needs to satisfy.

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs you can find the description of the universal psychological/social needs that the functionality of a product or service satisfies.

The instincts described in the Deadly Sins can be categorized into their basic types in relation to the functionality of the category, that the product or service satisfies.

Satisfying the instinctive needs that underlie the product catalyzes the contagious process. Covering instincts that are not related with the instincts that the product naturally satisfies, inhibits the process.

The Extreme Sympathy

Sympathy has to do with the capacity to influence the use value of the product or service, which allows the individual to expand his or her possibilities.

This expansion of possibilities is materialized in the fact that the new solution represents both a functional complement to the consumer needs and an emotional complement which allows expanding her/his possibilities.

The emotional complementation, covering what the client lacks, is what sustains the contagiousness and ensures the process.


The use of “attractors” allows accelerating the speed of growth in the market. This technology is needed for innovative, and differentiated products or services.

There are four different types of attractors according to the functionality for which they are built:

  • Originality driven
  • Practicality driven
  • Simplicity driven
  • Prestige driven

Attractors wear out over time, because a satisfied need generates a new one. Therefore, attractors building requires a sound knowledge about the latent needs that are being satisfied, in order to anticipate the next.

Based on the research works led by Peter Belohlavek at The Unicist Research Institute.

Martin Alvaro

NOTE: The Unicist Research Institute (TURI) is a world leader in its segment. Since 1976, it has been specialized in complexity sciences applied to the research on the roots of evolution and its application to social, institutional, business and individual evolution.

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