City Hall Business English: Features and Benefits

FEATURES AND BENEFITS

The purpose of this class is to learn and apply two business concepts: features and benefits.

Sometimes these two words are confused by students. Some people think they are the same thing. But in fact they are very different.

  • Feature: an observable quality about a product or service. This is a description of the thing. Features talk about the technical aspects of a product.
  • Benefit: the good thing (advantage) which consumers can get if they buy the product of service. The value. Benefits answer this question: What’s in it for me? The benefits can be tangible (e.g. the hole in the wall made by a drill) or intangible (e.g. emotional).

To understand the differences between features and benefits, let us use the example of the Robertson screw. You can see this screw below.

Robertson_screw

 Features:

  1. patented in 1909
  2. made from metal
  3. square head

Benefits:

  1. reduced Ford Model T production 2 hours per car
  2. can use with one hand
  3. less slippage and less damage to goods 

MORE EXAMPLES

I found these examples here.

  • Twitter isn’t just a social message system that communicates with 140 characters. It gives people the ability to connect many voices in a collaborative way.
  • Facebook isn’t a free website service. It is a platform with mutual social environments that permit deeper understanding of each other’s interest. 

EVEN MORE EXAMPLES

Watch this ad. What does the ad sell: features or benefits? Apparently, sales increased 17% after this ad appeared on TV. Why might that be the case?

EVEN MORE EXAMPLES

What is Apple selling in this ad from 1997?

WHAT ABOUT THESE ADS?

What are the features and benefits in these ads?

 

 

 

PRACTICE

Here are some for some different products. How can these features be changed to consumer benefits?

  1. 50-number speed dial.
  2. One-click financial reports.
  3. Custom programs.
  4. Open 24 hours.
  5. A toy with batteries included.
  6. Sleeping pill.
  7. A razor with 3 blades.
  8. A hybrid car.

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe the benefits might look like these:

  1. The benefit of 50-number speed dial is saving time with fewer keystrokes.
  2. The benefits of one-click financial reports are immediate information and prepared statements for your accountant.
  3. The benefit of custom programs is that they’re designed just for you and your needs.
  4. The benefit of a store open 24 hours is you can buy when you want.
  5. The benefit of batteries included is the product is ready to use out of the box.
  6. A restful sleep at night.
  7. A close, comfortable, safe shave.
  8. You feel good about saving the environment and save money on gas.

 

EXTRA THOUGHTS

My students challenged me to find some examples of travel ads that included benefits as well as features. A great many TV travels promote the features of a destination but indeed few seem to focus on the benefits. here are a few examples of TV ads that include benefits.

 

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