I talk about this all the time with clients. To provoke love, you also have to provoke hate. To create something that is universally loved is not really possible. Not immediately. That usually happens over time, the Eames barks lounger took time. To create something that has an immediate cult following you have to probably also be comfortable with some people really not liking it. And that is OK. If your business plan requires you to capture 10% of a market, it literally means that 90% of people can hate it… as long as they are not the demo/psychographic you are targeting… realistically you want a lot more balance.
The Pontiac Aztec provoked a lot of feelings, almost all negative. You can probably more realistically shoot for 20% of people loving it, 10% of people hating it, and the rest being distributed in a nice bell curve in-between. The key if for the right type of people to really be attracted to it?
So, to refine the question. How do you get the right people to be attracted you your design.
First, who are those people and how do you define them? Are they the typical consumer of the brand you are working on or a new consumer you hope to pull away from a competitor. Study them. Do they shop in the retail channels you primarily do business (if not, it gets harder, no matter the design). Do they trust your brand (if not it gets harder, no matter what the design)? What are the other things in their life? What are the priorities in their life? What are the things they aspire to?
Once you understand the target person, you can start to build an aspirational persona and build a world of other products they have and desire. Analyze those products. Are they functional or emotional buys? What about them makes them desirable to the persona? Build a list of design principles all of these products obey.
Now, you can start exploring and evaluating design directions based on those design principles.
It is not a precipice science, it doesn’t work all of the time… and there are many other factors that influence success like brand perception, retail distribution (even if you are in the store, are you in front? on a display? How does that look and work?), marketing spend (does anybody even know this exists?)… but, doing this work at least gives you more of a chance, and the confidence the organization needs to take a risk.
I find otherwise you are trying to a shoot a moving target with a blindfold on… and it becomes very easy for the company to decline making more progressive solutions because they don’t have the mental framework to see anything but risk.