The Value of Crafted Vs. Mass-Produced

Michael Paulenko on August 10, 2017

Whether it’s a new oil painting vs a print, a craft beer vs a factory bottle, or a custom-built home vs a modular house—while all these pairs serve the same function, there is just something special about owning or choosing the one that is expertly crafted.

There are many things we buy that are mass-produced; and yet, even the most common items become more special and intrinsically more valuable to us if we get to be part of their creation journey.  There’s just no comparison between buying a car from the showroom and ordering a vehicle that’s customized and built to your specifications, to being able to follow its progress as it is being assembled.

When we think of crafted items there is simply more of an impact in our life experience. Regardless of a person’s interest when they begin talking about a prized possession, as the story unfolds their eyes grow larger, their speech grows more excited, as they describe the journey of acquiring the item. They begin to relive every step in the journey like they are that possession.

As one example of the value of craft, if you check out some of the most-funded items on Kickstarter, you’ll see the value of craft in almost every one. If it’s not a truly innovative technology (that’s a subject for a different post!) then chances are it’s either playing to a very specific tribe (another future post!) or something uniquely designed and handcrafted that resonates with people.

One recent Kickstarter project a co-worker of mine funded had a goal of $50,000 but ended up bringing in nearly $2 million dollars: The Sisyphus Table, which is handcrafted and combines kinetic art with basic functionality. When he describes the table, and the experience of following the progress the company is making, you can see the value he places on craft—one that he felt is worth waiting nearly a year for a product as he eagerly joins in the journey via monthly updates and Instagram photos.

Check out this video to see why:



On a more personal note: as a parent, the cards that my children made for me themselves are the most cherished. Those are the ones that have messages that are from the heart, and which display their individual personalities, emotions, and honesty.  They are truly personalized and engaged me at the right time, with a heartfelt message, and the crafted nature resulted in the memorable moments.

It is the journey, the quality, and the experience that you remember and, ultimately, that customers are willing to pay more for due to the joy that comes from the experience.

The communications your brand utilizes should be viewed similarly. There are times where mass-produced fits the situation; for example, with airlines, a notice about a general boarding call or a flight gate change fits this level of engagement. But there are many times that crafted and personalized really make a difference. If your company is trying to differentiate itself, and deliver a truly personal experience, then having crafted, customized communication to inform and direct during the onboarding process or at a time of stress & crisis makes all the difference.

It’s the difference between feeling like a number and feeling like a valued customer. And, it’s what crafting Inspiring Customer Connections™ is all about.

Special thanks to Sisyphus Industries for permission to use their images and video. Visit their website for more information.