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25 Nov 2013

An Advantage is Not a Benefit

One of the most confused communication in the business world, be it in sales or advertisements, is the concept of benefits.  Often people mistake features as benefits, and many also mistake advantages as benefits.

As we know, a feature is a characteristic of what you do. Like your company has 5-day week and 14-days annual leave.  This is obviously a feature and not a benefit.  A feature can be considered as an advantage if such a feature is not common.  But in today's world, 5-day week and 14-days annual leave are too common to be considered an advantage.

What about benefits?  They are not general things but things that mean something to people.  That is, people do really benefit from them.  So using the above example, if a person wants a career that offers fast promotion or good incentives, 5-day week and 14-days annual leave will not mean anything to him and are thus not considered benefits to him.

In short, benefits are special to the person.  So a same thing may be a benefit to one and meaningless to another.  Do not confuse advantages with benefits, or worse still, consider a feature as a benefit.

The following are the 7 most common benefits that we all crave for in this world, check to see if your company offers at least one of them.  If not, then your company offers no benefits at all!
  1. More Money
  2. More Free Time
  3. More Peace of Mind, Less Worry and Less Stress
  4. More Say (or Freedom of Expression)
  5. More Friends (and loved by others)
  6. More Happiness
  7. More of the Above
So from the real job advertisement (displayed outside a restaurant at Cathay Building), can you see that the so-called benefits are really not benefits at all.  Even if the company wants to call them benefits, they should call them differently, like instead of saying 'Performance Bonus', they should say 'Attractive Performance Bonus'.

If you want to call your advantages as benefits, you need to make them attractive to people by possessing the following 5 attributes:
  1. Specific (like '1 in 3 chance of getting performance bonus')
  2. Material and cannot be too small (like '5 sets of free uniforms provided annually)
  3. Given out timely (like 'performance bonus paid every month)
  4. Not too common (like 'uniforms designed by SIA designer)
  5. Transferable so that they will not be lost or forfeited easily
By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer at Asia Trainers, details are at here.

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