Watching her Wednesday night drama on TV with a glass of red in one hand, Karen noticed a new TVC for a bank she had seen recently on a website that morning, and it got her thinking. The interest rate for the account was competitive; the better the interest rate the more interested she was. The bank was smaller but with ATMs near her home, this was no longer an issue nor was more ATMs of any real benefit. What was holding her attention was the way the debit card rounded purchases up and saved that money into a different account of her choice. Now that was interesting! With a few deft strokes on her tablet, Words with Friends was closed and Karen was looking at the bank’s website.

This story was about Kano rather than Karen; specifically, Kano Analysis. Kano Analysis is a framework for classifying different evaluation drivers as they relate to needs. Apart from relative importance, evaluation drivers do not always behave the same as the delivery level changes or in relation to other attributes. Different frameworks have different names and types; Kano Analysis captures the breadth of evaluation patterns in a managerial useful way.

kano 2

Click to expand

With Kano Analysis we can break decision drivers down into five attribute groups that relate to needs.

  • Performance Attributes. Increases and decreases in this attribute have a relatively consistent impact and are often core category drivers. For example, interest rates for savings and loan accounts.
  • Basic Attributes. These are sometimes referred to as hygiene attributes. Having them is important but past a threshold, they deliver limited benefits to consumers and declining ROI to a business. If you don’t deliver, however, you are out of consideration. For Karen, ATM access was a basic attribute. Other examples can include medication speeds and duration.
  • Delight Attributes. Delight attributes are the opposite of basic attributes. Low levels have no real benefit, and basic and performance attributes need to be at a certain level before delight attributes have an effect. The environment, social benefits and buying locally made are classic examples of this attribute. In tertiary education, internships can fall into this group.
  • Indifferent Attributes. These are attributes that consumers do not value. Care is needed to not mistake plateaus in basic and delight for indifference.
  • Dissatisfyer Attributes. The opposite of performance attributes. The more of this attribute the less happy a consumer. In healthcare this can be side-effects from increased strength, in retail greater personal attention can mean longer weighting times. Category breakthroughs occur when dissatifyers are uncoupled from a positive driver, such as the callback feature which has now become common with call centres.

Theoretically possible, but rare in reality are attributes that reverse past a threshold; sweetness and saltiness in foods are examples.

Conducted using either qualitative of quantitative methods, Kano Analysis provides value in new product design when exploring options or deciding on what to launch. The approach is also useful with service experience evaluations to understand the impact of service failures.


To find out more
  • Noriaki Kano; Nobuhiku Seraku, Fumio Takahashi, Shinichi Tsuji (April 1984). “Attractive quality and must-be quality”. Journal of the Japanese Society for Quality Control, 14 (2): 39–48.
  • Cadotte, Ernest R.; Turgeon, Normand (1988). “Dissatisfiers and Satisfiers: suggestions from consumer complaints and compliments”. Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior 1: 74–79.
  • Zultner, R.E. & Mazur, G. H. (2006). The Kano Model: Recent Developments. The eighteenth symposium on Quality Function Deployment.
  • Spool Jared, “Understanding the Kano Model – A Tool for Sophisticated Designers”, 2013,