Why I paid $20 for a water bottle

August 3rd, 2009

I don’t drink enough water. This morning I had four plastic, disposable water bottles in various places around my office. I save them from meetings with the goal of refilling them and being better about hydration (that’s important you know). They’re usually forgotten; my goal remains unaccomplished and my office looks even more cluttered.

On Saturday I bought a $20 water bottle.

I also buy little 3×5 Moleskine notebooks and carry one with me everywhere I go. It costs $11.

Why does someone pay $20 for a hollow piece of metal with a lid or pay $11 for what essentially amounts to a stack of paper and a rubber band?

People pay a premium for brands for a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons is because they can drive people to act on their purchases. Allow me to explain.

I could jot down random thoughts and ideas on just about anything. Why pay $11 for a Moleskine notebook? It doesn’t make me a better writer – but the brand and story behind the notebooks makes me want to write.

I had plenty of water bottles sitting in my office that would have served the purpose of providing me with water that I never filled. Now that I have a nice, stainless steel water bottle I drain the thing probably three or four times a day.

Which is worth more: A spiral notebook that costs a dollar that I never write in, or an expensive notebook that I love filling with thoughts, notes, goals and lists? As a consumer, I’m willing to pay more for products/brands that inspire or engage me in some way or another.

If someone gets a pair of running shoes they’re excited about, they’re more likely to go running.

If someone gets the nicer paintbrushes, they may spend more time working at their painting.

If someone is excited about their water bottle, maybe they’ll drink more water.

The challenge for companies is to create brands and products that engage and inspire so people are willing to pay more.

What brands/products do you get excited about? Are there any that inspire you? Let me know in the comments.

Moleskine photo courtesy of Flickr.


Post Comment
  • We have a local dairy that makes the best milk ever. And it costs twice as much to purchase this milk as opposed to Albertson’s, Viva or other brands. But it is delicious! So my husband and I go for that milk. It tastes better, and the fact that it is more expensive makes us want to drink every last drop before it expires. The same goes for the chocolate milk. Definitely something to get excited about!

  • David Rathbun says:

    Great example Allison. Thanks for the comment!

  • Mike Nelson says:

    Premium Price = Premium Product (or atleast thats what my brain likes to tell me…) If i was drving around a brand new E-Class Mercedes, I’d find a reason to even drive it to my next-door neighbor’s house. Why? because I’d think, “Heck, I spent all that money – I better use it to the fullest!” However, i drive a 1996 Honda. Its still runs well, but i give every excuse to hitch a ride with someone else. (I guess this could also be considered as conspicuous consumption too.) On the other hand, I pay for a gym membership instead of just using the free gym at work or at school. Is it because i think paying for a gym membership will give me better results than going to a free gym? No, but i sure am more motivated to use it if i’m paying for it!

You must be logged in to post a comment.