counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Branding'

16 January 2008

How immersive technology can revitalize the shopping experience

IBM
IBM just released a white paper entitled “How immersive technology can revitalize the shopping experience”.

“Truly immersive experiences—which connect with shoppers on an emotional level through personalized dialogues and give them greater control over the shopping experience—are the new frontier in retailing. The immersive retail experience is more about involving the customer than it is about merchandise and merchandising. Think outdoor stores that provide simulated trails or streams for testing equipment, or appliance stores with test kitchens where customers can feel what it’s like to actually use products. In other words, for stores in many retail segments to stay ahead of competitors, they will need to generate the excitement of a theme park ride—and become a destination. [...]

Immersive technology solutions—which stimulate people’s visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile senses to connect with shoppers on an emotional level to create unforgettable shopping experiences—can open up a whole new world of energizing shopping experiences. Combined with flexible, responsive business models, they have the potential to transform the way customers interact with your brand. This brief explores how immersive technologies and business strategies can create a brand voice that generates renewed excitement about your store. It also examines IBM’s vision for immersive technologies.”

Download paper

(via the Experience Economist)

9 December 2007

Enriching the online shopping experience

Hot 100
When it comes to categories of products sold, apparel & accessories is the biggest kid on the Internet retailing block. E-retailers in this category account for 80 of the top 500 retail web sites, according to the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The category, however, also has one of the biggest hurdles on the web: merchandise that shoppers really like to feel, hold and try on, actions impossible to achieve via an Internet connection.

But that’s not stopping the apparel & accessories e-retailers named to the Hot 100 from using web tools and technologies to come as close as possible to helping shoppers “feel” merchandise and have an online experience similar to one they would have in a store.

The article continues with features and examples on what each of the top 25 apparel & accessories firms are doing to enrich the online shopping experience.

Read full story

27 November 2007

Apple is creating “a place where you belong”

Bob
Apple has been progressively changing its retail store format over the past year, eliminating cash registers while introducing several new services and increased staffing, to create a more personalized and friendly environment for customers, reports MacNN in an article entitled “Apple overhauls retail customer experience”.
Apple wants to maintain a casual feel in the stores, something that is reflected by its customers as they browse, use internet, or bringing their children in to play at the low-legged tables. “We try to pattern the feeling to a 5-star hotel,” said Apple’s retail chief, Ron Johnson. “It’s not about selling. It’s about creating a place where you belong.”

Read full story

A longer story on the topic was recently published by AP News.

6 November 2007

Witty customer experiences

Silver pills
Design, Wit, and The Creative Act is a half day conversation, organised by Core77, about leveraging the power of humor towards great customer experiences.

In the run-up to the event, Randy J. Hunt did a short interview Allan Chochinov of Core77 about the event’s aims, and how designers employ wit, irony—even subversion—in the service of making a connection with their audience.

The biggest issue, in my mind, is that humor is so culture specific and culturally bound. Americans, Italians and Brits have a very different sense of humor, and there are many variations within these countries as well. So it is an extremely complex issue and not at all easy to standardise and implement in design.

Read interview

19 October 2007

Book: “Authenticity” by Gilmore and Pine

Authenticity
James Gilmore and Joe Pine, authors of the 1999 bestseller “The Experience Economy“, have now published a new book “Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want”.

Abstract

Contrived. Disingenuous. Phony. Inauthentic. Do your customers use any of these words to describe what you sell–or how you sell it? If so, welcome to the club. Inundated by fakes and sophisticated counterfeits, people increasingly see the world in terms of real or fake. They would rather buy something real from someone genuine rather than something fake from some phony. When deciding to buy, consumers judge an offering’s (and a company’s) authenticity as much as–if not more than–price, quality, and availability.

In “Authenticity,” James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II argue that to trounce rivals companies must grasp, manage, and excel at rendering authenticity. Through examples from a wide array of industries as well as government, nonprofit, education, and religious sectors, the authors show how to manage customers’ perception of authenticity by:

  • recognizing how businesses “fake it”;
  • appealing to the five different genres of authenticity;
  • charting how to be “true to self” and what you say you are; and
  • crafting and implementing business strategies for rendering authenticity.

The first to explore what authenticity really means for businesses and how companies can approach it both thoughtfully and thoroughly, this book is a must-read for any organization seeking to fulfill consumers’ intensifying demand for the real deal.

Review in Publishers weekly (copied from here)

This eye-opening but muddled volume tells companies to “remain true to self” or, at least, to appear genuine, arguing that “in a world increasingly filled with deliberately and sensationally staged experiences… consumers choose to buy or not buy based on how real they perceive an offering to be.” Everything that forms a company’s identity—from its name and practices to its product details—affects consumers’ perceptions of its authenticity. Juggling philosophical concepts, in-depth case studies and ad slogans, Gilmore and Pine (The Experience Economy) run into trouble with a chapter called “Fake, Fake, It’s All Fake,” which eviscerates the entire idea of authenticity: “Despite claims of ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ in product packaging, nothing from businesses is really authentic. Everything is artificial, manmade, fake.” The argument is unexpected and perhaps brilliant—yet rather confusing, since most of Authenticity argues that businesses should strive to not only appear authentic but to be so. The book’s bullet points, charts and matrices add to the tangle, as the authors’ early advice (“your business offerings must get real”) becomes a demand for furrowed-brow soul-searching. Still, the prose is snappy and conversational, and the book is densely packed with insights and provocations, and may inspire some executives to consider how consumers see their company. (Nov.)

- Publisher’s page | Amazon page

Download table of contents and first chapter (pdf, 170 kb, 12 pages)

7 October 2007

Danish film: Innovation via design

Innovation via design
Together, the Danish Design Centre and the production company TWO+ have made the film “Innovation via Design – The Danish way to compete in the world market”. The film will be used in the branding efforts for Danish design in China, among other purposes.

The 4-minute film illustrates the unique ways that large Danish companies like Bang & Olufsen, Hummel, Novo Nordisk, Jyske Bank and LEGO apply design as a strategic instrument in their activities. The companies view design as a key competitive factor and have made it an essential part of their business strategy. They know that design is the element that makes the difference between a standard product and a competitive product.

View film

18 July 2007

Barcelona_London: comparing, contrasting and challenging two urban success stories

BCN_LDN 2020
Today the UK think tank Demos launches a new collection of essays produced with Catalan think tank Fundació Ramon Trias Fargas comparing and contrasting the two urban success stories of London and Barcelona.

The report, called BCN_LDN 2020, explores how London and Barcelona can reflect on their past decades of urban policy-making and the challenges ahead.

Abstract

Over the last fifteen years London and Barcelona have epitomised the story of the ‘resurgent city’. They now face a set of challenges without easy answers – such as on public behaviour and public space, on migration and identity, on governance and collective imagination. The collection BCN_LDN 2020 brings together a range of provocative essays exploring current policy discourses and alternative stories.

The collaboration between Demos and Fundació Ramon Trias started with a Work Party in the Summer of 2006, which explored how London and Barcelona can reflect on their past decades of urban policy-making and the challenges ahead.

The publication, which acknowledges the achievements of recent policy-making, but provides a critical reflection on the success stories that we hear from both cities, includes essays by Antoni Vives (Fundació Ramon Trias Fargas), Dr Fran Tonkiss (London School of Economics), Indy Johar (Zero Zero Architects), Anwar Akhtar (Cultural Industries Development Agency), Chris Murray (Core Cities Group), and Lise Autogena (independent artist / NESTA fellow).

Download publication (pdf, 1.7 mb, 102 pages)

3 July 2007

The Nokia “observe and design” brand slide show

First we observe
Nokia’s Keith Pardy and Alastair Curtis produced a slideshow on brand and design priorities, as part of an external presentation to investors at the Nokia Capital Markets Day 2006.

The presentation is all about Nokia’s human approach to technology: i.e. observing first (“the often small, the sometimes big moments of everyday”) and designing later, and turning that int a brand philosophy.

Keith Pardy is strategic vice president of Nokia Strategic Marketing, whereas Alastair Curtis is Nokia’s chief designer.

(via Logic & Emotion)

1 July 2007

Timo Veikkola (Nokia) on a vision of the future

Timo Veikkola
This 20 minute video from the PSFK Conference London 2007 shows the presentation given by Timo Veikkola, senior future specialist at Nokia, on a Vision of our Future. As design is the reflection of society, how can we envision the future through trends, observation and informed intuition. What values, attitudes and behaviours of today will shape our future?

Juliana Xavier provides some more background on her blog “mind the gap”.

Timo Veikkola is an anthropologist; he studies people into culture. As many anthropologists these days he holds a strategic position inside a global corporation. As senior future specialist at Nokia Design, he looks at society to comprehend how there are going to be shifts in behaviour and culture that can inspire their design team. [...]

According to him, trends are the manifestation of values and attitudes, of people’s behaviour and reaction to what is happening in the world. Therefore, innovation, be it a product innovation or a different way to communicate it, has to be based on a good observation and informed intuition of what is going on in the present.

Read full report

1 July 2007

Jyske, the Danish experience bank

Jyske Bank
Jyske Bank, Denmark’s third largest financial institution, invested last year 400 million Danish kroner (equivalent to 54m euro or 72m USD) to redesign and brand their bank as an experience bank.

Excerpted from the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies:

Jyske Bank recently fundamentally changed its business concept, so the customer can put together his own banking solution. The bank has focused on the product experience, both “virtually” and in the branch. The bank calls the initiative “Jyske Difference” ["Jyske Forskelle"] and their slogan is “Jyske is the bank that makes a difference.”

In the short process (four months) during which the new business concept has been developed and partially implemented, the bank has been especially inspired by the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies‘ thoughts on Creative Man and the individualization megatrend. As they write to FO/futureorientation:

“Many consumers see banks and bank products as uniform – and a little boring. At the same time, we see that customers are changing behavior. They want more influence; they are more self-reliant while demanding personal service. The creative consumer, who wishes to create his or her own solution, is the coming thing. Consumers want to tailor their own charter vacations, car, and bank product. With the new initiative, the bank can better meet the modern consumer types of the present. With Jyske Difference, Jyske Bank signals that we are more than a bank. Jyske Bank is a bank, a store, and a modern library. Jyske Bank is the place where customers become smarter, inspired, and experience a straightforward atmosphere.”

See also this concept presentation video (2:49).

At the end of August Frank Pedersen, communication- and marketing director at Jyske Bank, will explain what they did and what the result was one year after, at Motion, the brand new experience economy conference in Norway.

8 May 2007

Delta Airlines: change the experience / experience change

Experience change
Delta Air Lines launched a new advertising campaign to mark a new era, introduce an updated, boldly modern corporate brand and showcase a reinvigorated customer experience. The campaign, entitled “Change,” honors Delta’s strong 78-year heritage with a renewed sense of vitality and is focused on Delta’s effort to rethink every moment of the of the travel experience, enhancing the time customers spend at each stage of their journey – from trip planning to arrival – to make it as rich and rewarding as possible.

The campaign reflects the airline’s refreshed focus to completely change the customer travel experience, both on the ground and in the air through unique, stylish and entertaining enhancements. [...]

“Delta is doing what no other airline has had the guts to do,” said Lenny Stern, founding partner of Delta’s advertising agency SS+K. “It’s acknowledging the 800-pound gorilla in the room for travelers – that the travel experience can sometimes be frustrating and annoying. Through creative messaging, it’s clearly stating that change is the only acceptable option to respond to customer needs. By being honest about what is at stake, customers can believe Delta is also being honest about how they are changing with a keen focus on making make every moment of the travel experience better.”

Delta’s new web site will ultimately enable travelers to participate in a dialogue about their travels, share ideas, travel tips and provide feedback, in order to help with Delta’s ongoing commitment to change.

Read full press release

8 February 2007

Co-leader of IDEO’s Consumer Experience Design Practice on how design can drive growth

Iain Roberts
“Creating a successful brand requires more than visually appealing products. A designer must also consider the holistic experience and contextual use of the product to attract consumers.”

This was the key message of Iain Roberts, co-leader of IDEO’s Consumer Experience Design Practice, speaking about “Persuading through Great Industrial Design” to students from marketing, communications, engineering and design as part of the 2006-2007 Yaffe Center for Persuasive Communication speaker series at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

IDEO is a global industrial design firm whose clients include AT&T, Eli Lilly, Intel, Kraft Foods, Motorola and Proctor & Gamble.

“Roberts identified three key elements of industrial design: Aesthetics (how the product looks), ergonomics (how it works) and manufacturing (how it is made). Mass production is what characterizes industrial design.

Aesthetics, ergonomics and manufacturing are combined with the human factors of empathy, experiences and connections, he said. The designer must consider the consumer’s needs (both expressed and unexpressed), desires and self-image.”

- Read full story
Watch video of presentationAlternate stream (iTunes)

7 February 2007

Brands are inside-out, user experience is outside-in

Experience
“If branding is all about imprinting a pre-conceived idea and marketing profile onto an audience, thus being very inside-out, what is the value and role of experience design and how does it differ from traditional branding?”, asks Luigi Canali De Rossi on Robin Good.

“Taking pretext from content published online by the UK Design Council, Peter Merholz, one of user-experience most authoritative professionals takes a clarification stand on the key differences between branding and experience design.

Though difficult to grasp at first, experience design is more about the kind of experience users actually have than about controlling the experience you try to give them.”

Read full post

17 January 2007

2-year course on design for retail experience at India’s National Institute of Design

NID Design for Retail Experience
“With new malls and retail outlets mushrooming all across [India], thanks to the retail boom, it’s no wonder then that the National Institute of Design (NID) has come up with a unique course called Design for Retail Experience“, writes Kumar Anand in the Ahmedabad section of expressindia.com.

“While the four-semester course, beginning at the institute’s Bangalore campus, is yet to be framed the institute has already conducted an entrance test for the same.”

“The course focuses on retail environment and trends in design of retail spaces including props merchandising and visual merchandising, but a curriculum is yet to be framed. For this specialised course, the institute has consulted various industries and foreign universities. “We are constantly in touch with institutes abroad and are taking their help to understand the trends in retail experiences. With retail being the most common experience, design experience is first tested in retail. Therefore this course will be one of its kind,’’ said Darlie Koshy, director, NID. The institute is also working hard to create a faculty pool to teach close to 15 students in the first batch beginning mid-June.”

“The likes of Grottini Shopsystems, an Italian agency that works towards creating retail brand experiences and developing retail environment, have been approached for framing curriculum. “We are also in touch with the Ontario College of Art and Design, Canada and a few other concerned institutes,’’ Koshy informed.”

Read full story

(thanks, Bob Jacobson)

22 December 2006

Fiat engages in online dialogue with its customers

Fiat
“Fiat is promoting its new ‘Bravo‘ car model engaging a transparent and sincere discussion with its potential customers through the blog Quelli che Bravo,” writes Emanuele Quintarelli on his blog.

“The name is not so innovative, mimicking a well known italian soccer related TV program, but the approach is indeed quite new: presenting the ideas, the actual phases of design, drafts, materials, reflections and several considerations about the challenges involved in a 6 week process (for a car this is an extremely fast cycle).”

“Comments are moderated but visitors can still make their points to get answers (and Fiat employees are effectively giving answers) and the blog is well integrated with videos on YouTube and photos from Flickr.”

“The idea is to show the real people that are often hidden behind a product, their faces and their work. Not only strategic analysts or branding managers but also men that assemble the pieces a car is made of.”

Read full story

6 December 2006

Motorola’s Motofone experience website

Motofone experience
Motorola put together a fancy and slick flash website describing how they created the user experience for their new Motofone.

The site gives much insight on the design process including sections on the design of the screen, durability, icons, battery life, audio and disassembly. It also features short audio profiles of the project designers.

The Motofone experience site doesn’t say much however about the user interface and people’s interaction with it, traditionally a weak spot in the Motorola experience, nor does it reveal much about how they actually involved mobile phone users in the process. Instead, it puts the emphasis on form factors and mainly positions the phone as a well-crafted object.

Launch Motofone experience website

2 December 2006

Co-design, China and the commercialisation of the mobile user interface [uiGarden.net]

David Williams
“Until recently, the user interface of mobile devices was researched, designed, developed, and tested by UI groups within manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola,” writes David M.L. Williams of Asentio Design in a long feature article on uiGarden.net.

“Development took place on proprietary software and hardware platforms.”

“With the codesign model, design control must be shared with other organizations, e.g., operator design teams that are more likely to be in marketing groups or third-party application developers. These teams may be as well or better skilled to produce user interface designs but will have different design and commercial objectives.”

“The collaboration of operator, manufacturer, and software developer is the first step in the evolution of codesign. A new and more interesting development (from the point of view of experience-focused rather than technology-focused design) is the entrance of MVNOs [mobile virtual network operators] and consumer brands into the design arena.”

Based on a case study on a codesign project in China involving the operator Anycom, Williams provides a series of guidelines and outlines what he thinks is the future of codesign.

Read full story

2 December 2006

External expert team helps Philips focus on simplicity [Business Week]

Andrea Ragnetti, Chief Marketing Officer of Royal Philips Electronics, showing the magic brush
“To drive change following a radical restructuring, Philips reckoned it needed a fresh perspective from creative types with no ties to the company. So it formed the simplicity board, a group of specialists in health care, fashion, design, and architecture,” writes Business Week.

Members are British fashion designer Sara Berman, Dr. Peggy J. Fritzsche, a radiology professor in California, Gary Chang, a leading architect in China and MIT’s John Maeda.

“On a practical level, the board is helping Philips rethink what its customers want. For two years, members met for several days every month or two in cities such as Rome, Paris, or New York. Today they no longer meet as a group, but each is on call to help Philips create intuitive, easy-to-use products that meet specific needs.”

Read full story

25 November 2006

U.S. cities compete in hipness to attract the young [The New York Times]

Young adults
“By 2012, the work force will be losing more than two workers for every one it gains.”

“Cities have long competed over job growth, struggling to revive their downtowns and improve their image. But the latest population trends have forced them to fight for college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds, a demographic group increasingly viewed as the key to an economic future.”

“Mobile but not flighty, fresh but technologically savvy, ‘the young and restless’, as demographers call them, are at their most desirable age, particularly because their chances of relocating drop precipitously when they turn 35. Cities that do not attract them now will be hurting in a decade.”

“The problem for cities, says Richard Florida, a public policy professor at George Mason University who has written about what he calls ‘the creative class’, is that those cities that already have a significant share of the young and restless are in the best position to attract more.”

Read full story

21 November 2006

Arts Management newsletter, a horrible experience with great content

Arts Management newsletter
Arts Management is a Weimar, Germany-based international information network for arts managers.

The e-mail newsletters are without formatting (and therefore impossible to read), the only link in the e-mail body is the unsubscribe link (which I of course innocently clicked hoping that it would take me to a richer version of the newsletter and therefore immediately unsubscribing me), the content is only available in PDF (without graphics or images of course), and when you go on the website you cannot find any of the articles in the newsletters unless you first know the category, topics (not sure what is the difference) or date of submission (who cares?).

In short, the user experience is horrible. Why on earth are people putting up with this? I just don’t understand. Arts managers, wake up!

YET, the newsletter is rich in information about relevant issues. So to make it a bit easier for you, I am attaching the latest newsletter as a download (pdf, 393 kb, 18 pages), a service which is not even available on the Arts Management website (sic).

Because the content deserves it.

Here is a pick from the current issue:

  • An interview with Sowon Koo, strategic design division marketer of Designhouse in Korea who talks about “Papertainer”, a trendy exhibition built with
    353 paper tubes and 166 containers, to commemorate the museum’s 30th anniversary.
  • An article by two University of Washington Ph.D students who describe two related digital media annotation systems (VideoTraces and ArtTraces) that allow museum visitors to record “traces” of their experiences. Traces are composed of digital visual recordings of the exhibits made or selected by the visitors that are then layered with verbal and gestural annotations.
  • A position paper by Max Ross arguing that ‘new museology’ is about the movement towards a more visitor-centred ethos, with museum professionals changing roles from ‘legistators’ to ‘interpreters’ of cultural meaning.
  • Dr. Margot Wallace underlines the importance of museum branding, as applied to new museum buildings and museums’ actual survival.
  • A UK government paper considers the value of museums. It “recognised and celebrates the importance and achievements of museums in the 21st century while identifying some of the challenges that face them.”

Just dont’ ask me for links to the individual stories.