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Posts in category 'Branding'

17 November 2006

European Market Research Event – Day 2, afternoon

European Market Research Event
Mike Spang, Kodak

Mike Spang has the long job title: “Business Research Director, Document Imaging, Corporate Business Research, Eastman Kodak Company”. He spoke about how Kodak went about creating a satisfying global corporate web experience.

To put it in somewhat of a context, about five years ago Kodak had to rapidly reinvent itself as a digital camera company, and so the website had to also change from a portal for photography to a portal for digital imaging, with 80 percent of the web visitors being regular consumers.

The website also had to provide people with an experience beyond just camera purchasing. As one can read in an article in Business Week that was just published, CEO Antonio M. Perez “aims to make Kodak do for photos what Apple does for music: help people to organise and manage their personal libraries of images. He’s developing a slew of new digital photo services for consumers that he expects to yield higher returns.”

Spang described how Kodak through a clever use of user-centred design and a wide range of usability methods, was able to reinvent its web site, make it truly global and incorporate input from users worldwide.

The techniques used included open ended site surveys, heuristic evaluation, focus groups, cognitive walkthroughs, card sorting, usability testing (in lab, remote, web-based), visitor satisfaction assessments, multivariate design testing, and web traffic analysis.

Since there are more than 50 different national versions of the site, the research took place in the UK, Germany, France, China, South Korea and the United States.

Download presentation (pdf, 2.8 mb, 44 slides)

Emmi Kuussikko, Sulake Corporation

Emmi Kuussikko is a research manager with particular responsibilities for market and user insight at the Sulake Corporation, an interactive entertainment company based in Finland. Sulake is responsible for Habbo Hotel.

Habbo is one of the largest teen online communities in 29 different countries. It is a virtual world for young people, a massively multiplayer online game where teenagers create their own personalised virtual characters and interact with other characters in the community. It has 7 million unique users monthly, mainly in the 13 to 16 year old age range, and over 60 million characters have been created globally.

Since it is the community that creates a truly unique gaming environment and a great deal of the changing content is created by the users themselves, they strongly feel they own the brand and the Sulake Corporation just manages it with them.

Research in this online environment is of course also done online. The user base is very loyal and they are very eager to participate in surveys. So actual data collection is very fast. A survey can collect over 40,000 answers in just a few days.

Here are some of the results from a recent survey done globally.

Most teens spend more time on the internet (>90%) than TV (~60 %). Mobile usage is mainly used for text messages, followed by camera use and game playing. One third listen to music on the mobile phone, especially in the UK and Italy. Teens mostly use the web to stay in contact with their friends: IM and email. Then come games. The research provides also a more detailed insight into youth characteristics regarding life style and values:

  • No 1 value: having warm social relationships with friends and family; no 2 value was having fun, and no 3 was security
  • Many are rather conservative in their values
  • Fame, wealth and influence are important to about half
  • They generally have a very positive self-image
  • They endorse a socially responsible world-view
  • Even thought most claim to be tolerant, many have negative attitudes toward minorities. But they would like to have friends from other countries.

Kuusikko’s presentation started to become really interesting when she presented user segments, and the spread of these segments by country.

The user segmentation was based on a cluster-factor analysis. Trying to create maximum divergence between groups and minimum within, provided an accurate and reliable method for identifying groups with similar characteristics. The variables examined were personality, values, attitudes, subculture membership, areas of interest.

Five user types were found: achievers, traditionals, creatives, rebels and loners.

Sulake also uses a more selective community of 200 users to generate, co-create and test new ideas in a continuous and open dialogue.

I hope to be able to add a download to Kuusikko’s presentation shortly.

Mehmood Khan, Unilever

Mehmood Khan is the eccentric thinker who is the Global Leader of Innovation Process Development at Unilever.

Unilever‘s mission is to “add vitality to life”. It manages 400 brands spanning 14 categories of home, personal care and foods products “that help people look good, feel good and get more out of life”.

Khan has been with Unilever since 1982 and has worked in wide areas of the business: marketing, exports, procurement, business development and innovation. He has been pioneering new business for Unilever in places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia and North Korea, along with developing new portfolios in China and other countries in East Asia.

In his presentation, entitled “A holistic approach to innovation”, Khan described the key features of Unilever innovation.

According to Khan, innovation is about turning creativity in a successful enterprise. At Unilever innovation is customer-focused which allows the company to keep its brands connected to people’s lives. The innovation learnings and in particular the customer focus have also shaped the vitality brand strategy.

Download presentation (pdf, 136 kb, 17 slides)

3 November 2006

Adidas sports performance store in Paris: it is all about the interactive experience

Adidas cube
The Germany-based sportswear brand opened its Mi Innovation Center on the Champs-Elysées. It’s a tech, fashion, and custom-design wonderland, writes Business Week.

“At the futuristic 1,750-square-meter store, the largest Adidas store in the world, shoppers can browse the latest trends (Stella McCartney-designed skiwear and faux fur vests from rapper Missy Elliot) while immersing themselves in interactive technologies.”

“The focal point of the innovation center is a large, sleek black cube. Customers simply point at images on the cube and laser and infrared technologies interpret their gestures, converting them to commands. Radio frequency identification (RFID)-activated monitors give detailed information on Adidas product at the pointing of a finger.”

“Heinrich Paravicini, the director of Mutabor, the German communication design agency that contributed to the design of the cube, says that technology alone won’t draw in shoppers. It’s all about the interactive experience. ‘When people are shopping they don’t want to learn,’ he says. ‘They want to be entertained.'”

Read full story

2 November 2006

Philips Research magazine provides deeper look at simplicity commitment

Philips Research Password
The October 2006 issue of Password, the Philips Research magazine, went online yesterday.

It contains a long feature story about Philips Research’s new light-emitting ‘Lumalive’ fabrics, with some nicely illustrated examples of how they could be meaningfully applied in daily life conditions.

The magazine also includes an interview with Kenneth Morse of MIT’s Entrepreneurship Center on how an entrepreneurial and sales culture can coax research and technologies to the global market place, as well as a background piece on some of the internal challenges of implementing a full end-user commitment within Philips, in order to be able to deliver on its Sense & Simplicity brand promise and to develop this into exciting Next Simplicity events.

Download Password (pdf, 1.9 mb, pages)

20 October 2006

David Polinchock on creating a retail brand experience

Ralph Lauren window shopping
In an article in the premiere issue of Marketing at Retail, David Polinchock of the Brand Experience Lab looks at the key developments today in creating a compelling, authentic and relevant retail brand experience.

Polinchock discusses the growing trend of socialisation in the retail space and claims that retail innovators like Starbucks and the Apple stores have boomed because they have created a social space rather than a retail space.

He also writes about the impact of mobile technologies (including cell phone shopping, Bluetooth technologies in billboards, Nokia’s CoolZone and podcasting), and about new display experiences, e.g. with directional sound, interactive user interfaces or holographic projection systems. At the end of the four page article, Polinchock explores some upcoming technologies such as multi-touch sensing, combining the real world with the virtual world, online role-playing games

Download Marketing at Retail (pdf, 3.59 mb, 60 pages – Polinchock’s article is on pages 29-33)

(Note that pages 34 to 38 contain an article on experiential marketing by Jeff Sheets, advertising professor at Brigham Young University)

12 October 2006

Samsung’s DigitAll brand magazine on greatness in the digital era

Samsung's DigitAll magazine
The fall edition of Samsung’s DigitAll magazine explores greatness in the digital era.

To understand the topic better, Greg Lindsay portrays five business leaders of companies like Ingenio, Zopa, Honest Tea, Cleantech and Firefox.

Business writer Nicholas G. Carr (blog) meanwhile explores the topic conceptually, and investigates the claim that in the Age of the Internet, greatness in business is no longer “an expression of the aptitudes of individual persons or organisations, but a consequence of the connections between them”. Carr claims there is a “fundamental flaw in the thinking of those who believe greatness emerges naturally from the interconnections of the crowd or network”, the so-called “wisdom of the crowd”.

Also nice is a story by Observer architecture critic Deyan Sudjic on how designer Ross Lovegrove “turns technology into the experience of sense”.

10 October 2006

Bob Jacobson on advertising and experience design

Denuo
Bob Jacobson is one of the more thoughtful thinkers on experience design and the commentary he provides on his Total Experience blog is therefore frequently cited on Putting People First.

Yesterday he analysed how the advertising profession has opened a more systematic approach to experience design.

More in particular he looks at three initiatives: the Consumer Experience Practice of the Interpublic Group (IPG), Denuo of the Publicis Groupe, and the independent Brand Experience Lab.

(I might want to add Arc Worldwide, also of the Publicis Group.)

Bob provides a lot of insight in who is actually working for these initiatives, what their agenda is, and what that might mean for the field. He also goes into some depth on the Brand Experience Lab, which he thinks is “the most appealing for its holism”.

But more is needed, he concludes, to get the advertising industry to really address experience design issues, beyond the online world.

“Whatever happened to the industry’s paradigm-shifters? The advertising world is in the throes of the biggest upheaval since the advent of TV, and the revolutionaries are nowhere to be found. Instead, there are predictable arguments from predictable sources: The old-media mavens espouse the importance of integrated solutions with new media, and new-media moguls chatter politely about spreading the wealth with network TV.”

Read full post

4 October 2006

Philips: LiveSimplicity

LiveSimplicity
It’s been a couple of years ago since Philips launched their “Sense and Simplicity” slogan. With this slogan Philips tries to underline their goal to design products that are easy to use and understand.

But what is simplicity? Recently, Philips has launched the online LiveSimplicity forum, on which people have a chance to tell what simplicity means to them. And to discuss about it with others.

According to the site, “maybe one day we’ll find all the solutions” to this question.

(via Bruce Nussbaum and SteveWeb)

4 October 2006

Trendwatching.com on status skills

Viking Cooking Schoool
The people from trendwatching.com have identified a new trend which they have dubbed “status skills”:

Their definition:
“In economies that increasingly depend on (and thus value) creative thinking and acting, well-known status symbols tied to owning and consuming goods and services will find worthy competition from ‘status skills': those skills that consumers are mastering to make the most of those same goods and services, bringing them status by being good at something, and the story telling that comes with it.”

They note that this is not an anti-business trend. “It still relies on a dominantly capitalist system, in which consumption remains important, yet is partly replaced by another highly valued, status-providing activity: mastering skills, and the show & tell circus that comes with it. Which opens entirely new markets for both providers of skills, and those skillful consumers who may become competing producers of (niche) goods and services.”

“Furthermore, ‘skills’ joining tangible, shiny things and mind-blowing experiences as providers of status is by no means the only shift to watch in the status space. What if a ‘doing the right thing’ lifestyle gains in appreciation? Where does leading an eco-friendly existence fit in, and the praise that one increasingly will get from that? Or the virtual world, in which one’s gaming skills, or one’s profile popularity (and number of friends), or even the appearance of one’s avatar determine how much praise or scorn is received?”

The trend report is structured in three areas:

  • Dedicated status skills provider: “entities that are exclusively dedicated to helping consumers to acquire skills”;
  • Corporate classes: “brands that are assisting consumers in acquiring skills as a way to make the most of their purchases from that brand”;
  • “Ventures that enable consumers to show off their skills“.

Read trend report

26 September 2006

Ethnographic research on teens and brands

Super influencer
Starcom MediaVest Group (a subsidiary of the Publicis Group) and CNET Networks, Inc. revealed the results of an ethnographic study on teens and brands.

The extensive ethnographic youth study was aimed at “helping marketers understand how to reach today’s elusive population of 13- to 34-year-olds, responsible for $600 billion each year in consumer spending”.

The study set out to assess “how young people feel about brands, how they talk about them with friends, and how they take in, manipulate, and redistribute marketing messages”. In addition, the study identifies ‘brand sirens’, i.e. “the super-influencers of the youth market, including who they are, what they do, and how marketers can better reach them”.

Not surprisingly (in light of the sponsors), the study shows that “today’s young people care about the brands they use, talk often with their friends about brands, and like watching real-time television”.

- Read press release
Go to study website
Download presentation (pdf, 29.3 mb, 58 slides)

25 September 2006

Google’s VP of user experience makes cover of Newsweek

Marissa Meyer on Newsweek
Google’s Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products & user experience, makes the cover of Newsweek and is named one of the most powerful women of her generation.

Her home town paper gives her a write-up here: Wausau girl hits big-time, along with a large version of the Newsweek cover.

(via ValleyMag and SearchEngineWatch)

23 September 2006

Ethnography and philanthropy: giving is aspiring

Ethnography and Philanthropy
If we take as the assumption that “modern American philanthropy is a consumer marketplace”, then “what, in consumer marketing terms, causes consumers to act; specifically to buy (in commercial terms) or to give?”

This is the starting question in an article written by Tom Watson, publisher of the free onPhilanthropy web publication.

“Can ethnographers help to create the perfect cause? And if nonprofits want to adopt this increasingly important area of social science to mimic their corporate cousins to design campaigns and causes based what anthropologists tell us what are the implications for philanthropy?”

“Clearly, if nonprofits are chartered to serve the public good, the pure creation of products to appeal to consumer interest runs counter to our mission. Those of us raising funds for nonprofits do so because those organizations do worthy things, not because we need to increase marketshare (as worthy a goal as that clearly is for corporations). The role of the consumer anthropologist in philanthropy becomes clearer, I think, when you peer inside an organization’s ongoing fundraising and communications. Here, within the structure of raising and spending funds for a cause, experimentation has been going on for many decades. Any nonprofit involved in a serious direct marketing program must test new methods of attaining donors, almost by definition. At trade shows and conferences, I’ve seen plenty of really visionary fundraisers talk about envelopes, streaming video, clever giveaways, and a wide spectrum of rewards marketing. Even in major gifts at the top of the fundraising food chain good practitioners create “product” all the time: in the form of naming opportunities, events, giving circles and the like.”

“What every good fundraiser has to realize is that the particular consumer marketplace that philanthropy inhabits is almost entirely aspirational.”

“When we make the decision to give, it is based on a relatively simple checklist of smaller decisions all of which have to do with how we see ourselves in the world. Brand managers in the consumer world have long understood this. Remember the phrase, “you are what you drive?” You can apply it to what you eat, where you live, what you wear, watch or listen to and how you give.”

“When we make a gift, it is less transactional certainly than a purchase. The desire to fund change, to help the poor, to better society is real and it goes beyond the purely commercial. But we also aspire as we give.”

Read full story

23 September 2006

User-generated content uncovered: power to the people [Digital Bulletin]

The future of user-generated content
User-generated content is driving the next stage in the growth of the internet. Larissa Bannister examines the opportunities for brands and agencies in Digital Bulletin, the daily digital newsletter of Brand Republic.

Most of the current buzz-words in digital marketing (blogging, podcasting, social networking) and most of the websites being fought over by the big media conglomerates have one thing in common: they are built on user-generated content. [...] The web is stuffed full of video and text uploaded by people who want to share what they’re doing with the world.

It’s a shift that is behind the growth of what people are calling Web 2.0 – the second phase of the internet. This time around, it’s not only about the amount of time people are spending online (significant though that is), it’s also about what they’re doing online. And what they’re doing is creating content and sharing it with each other.

According to Nigel Morris, the chief executive of the Aegis-owned digital network Isobar, this change means the media market itself is moving from an old and inflexible model to an environment of infinite flexibility, where content from anywhere can be viewed by anyone.

This might sound scary to a market built around a traditional broadcasting model. But, in fact, it’s also an opportunity for media owners, advertisers and agencies alike. By getting involved in user-generated content, you can get people more involved in your brand than they ever have been before, increase their loyalty, even make them your brand advocates. And you can find out exactly what they think about your product.

For brands, this means a change from traditional marketing methods such as advertising to getting involved in dialogues with consumers. “It’s not about your message any more,” Morris says. “Now, it’s all about whose consumers are telling the best stories about them.”

Read full story

4 September 2006

Execs who live with their consumers

Tesco research
Companies often make the mistake of not understanding new territories before they expand into them, writes Edward Cotton in the Influx Insights weblog.

The UK grocery giant Tesco is planning to invade the competitive US market in the next 18 months. The operation will start out in California before potentially branching out across the country.

To make sure they get the California market right, Tesco has been doing its research, as would be expected.

What’s a little different is how they went about it (link to article in The Sunday Times).

For a two-week period, 50 senior Tesco directors and researchers lived with American families, recording and experiencing their shopping, eating and leisure habits.

As Lucy Neville-Rolfe, the company secretary and corporate affairs director at Tesco explains;

“Spending time with people in their houses, looking in their cupboards and fridges and actually shopping with them is a great way to understand the market”.

Listening to people in focus groups and going to people’s homes are two completely different things, with the later generating far more valuable insight.

With the success of a business at stake, it helps to spend time to understand the true nuances and realities of consumer behavior, you will not get that from focus groups or surveys.

The other important thing is that senior executives participate, so often, research is not seen as critical and left to the junior members of a team, leaving the senior people stuck with their old paradigms and unable to see how things have changed, because they lack the first-hand personal experience of seeing it for themselves.

2 August 2006

Putting People First official blogger of the European Market Research Event 2006

European Market Research Event 2006
A few days ago, we were contacted by the Institute for International Research (IIR) in New York about the first European Market Research Event, taking place in London from 13 to 16 November this year. Today, we are proud to announce that we agreed that Putting People First will be the “official blogger” of this impressive event.

The European Market Research Event positions itself as the “only practitioner led event focused on the business value of market research and consumer insights”. It was designed to join market researchers, directors of insights and marketers, to discuss the business value of market research.

The speaker line up is impressive and features such companies as Barclays Bank, CNBC Europe, EMI Music, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Intel, LEGO, Lufthansa, Microsoft, Nokia, Pepsico, Price Waterhouse Cooper, Procter and Gamble, Orange, Steelcase, Swisscom Innovations, Unilever and Vodafone. Anne Kirah, Microsoft’s senior design anthropologist, is the event’s co-chair.

The event, which coincides with the UPA’s 2006 World Usability Day, is organised in various thematic “special interest groups”. Themes are Ethnography, Segmentation, Online Research, Global Research, Media, and Usability.

The main conference days (Monday to Wednesday) feature keynote sessions from leading practitioners from Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and authors including James Surowiecki, “Wisdom of Crowds”, and Peter Fisk, “Marketing Intelligence”. Academics from the London Business School, Northwestern University and other institutions also contribute keynote speeches. The afternoons of the main conference days are devoted to in-depth case-studies on Trends, Product Development, Shopper Insights, Return on Investment, Social Research, Branding, Business to Business, and Best Practices in Applying Market Research.

In the months leading up to the event, Putting People First will post several interviews with the organisers and some of the key speakers. During the event we will provide live blogging, including some short interviews with key participants. All posts are accessible from a special page, accessible from the European Market Research Event logo in the left sidebar.

In addition, two of our Experientia partners, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels, will present a 45 min. thematic session on usability as a tool for innovation, and on the importance of empathic market sensing, user experience modelling and design prototyping.

1 August 2006

The new simplicity at Philips [Business Week]

Home simple home
When Gerard Kleisterlee took the helm at Royal Philips Electronics in 2001 the Dutch conglomerate’s vast empire spanned sectors from TVs and light bulbs to semiconductors and medical devices. But one important thing was missing: a coherent brand.

“It was clear the missing link between Philips’ great technology and business success was marketing,” Kleisterlee says.

Countless focus groups across the company’s divisions all led to the same conclusion: New technology was often just too complex. So Philips stopped talking tech and started speaking the language of its customers.

It’s all part of a new branding effort launched two years ago called Sense and Simplicity. The idea is to create a “health care, lifestyle, and technology” company whose products promise innovation but are easy to use and designed around consumers. Kleisterlee hired a new marketing boss and quickly moved to ensure the company’s strategy filtered down to the troops.

Read full story

Slideshow: The New Simplicity
Philips’ latest design philosophy aims at making people’s lives not just more pleasing but less cluttered. Under the leadership of new Chief Marketing Officer Andrea Ragnetti, Philips products increasingly serve multiple functions. A chair and a TV set, for instance, double as lamps, casting a soft light on their surroundings. A futuristic portable music player encourages strangers to interact through sharing their favorite tunes.

Slideshow: A History of Hot Ideas
Over the decades, Philips has turned out a long series of iconic and fast-selling designs. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable creations by Philips Design.

Slideshow: Products That Just Missed
As part of its innovation strategy, Philips Design works on about three thousand projects in any one year. Some of those projects are more experimental, and never make it to production. Here are a handful of the studio’s concept projects. Others prove too tough to bring to market — or just come along at the wrong time.

31 July 2006

Advertising 2.0 [International Herald Tribune]

The coming age of mass participation
To many marketers, handing control to consumers still seems antithetical to the idea of advertising.

But that may be about to change, advertising executives say, as marketers wake up to the popularity of user-generated content and social networking and acknowledge that on the Internet, controlling the message is often no longer possible anyway.

Several of the largest ad companies have recently moved into the chaotic world of social networking and user-generated content. WPP Group created a joint venture with LiveWorld, an online marketing agency, to develop social networking opportunities for clients. Interpublic Group, meanwhile, created a partnership with Facebook, a networking site for students. Last week, Denuo [a unit of Publicis that specializes in new technology] created a partnership with ViTrue, an Atlanta-based start-up that bills itself as the “world’s first user-created advertising platform.”

30 July 2006

The brand underground [The New York Times]

aNYthing
“Aaron Bondaroff, aka A-Ron, whose life weaves through the most elusive subcultures of lower Manhattan, has turned his lifestyle into a business called aNYthing.”

“Young people have always found fresh ways to rebel, express individuality or form subculture communities through cultural expression: new art, new music, new literature, new films, new forms of leisure or even whole new media forms. A-Ron’s preferred form of expression, however, is none of those things. When he talks about his chosen medium, which he calls aNYthing, it sounds as if he’s talking about an artists’ collective, indie film production company, a zine or a punk band. But in fact, aNYthing is a brand. A-Ron puts his brand on T-shirts and hats and other items, which he sells in his own store, among other places. He sees it as fundamentally of a piece with the projects and creations of his anti-mainstream heroes.”

“This might seem strange, since most of us think of branding as a thoroughly mainstream practice: huge companies buying advertising time during the Super Bowl to shout their trademarked names at us is pretty much the opposite of authentic or edgy expression.”

The article then continues into a thoughtful reflection on the nature of branding:

“Of course, companies don’t go into business in order to express a particular worldview and then gin up a product to make their point. Corporate branding is a function of the profit motive: companies have stuff to sell and hire experts to create the most compelling set of meanings to achieve that goal. A keen awareness of and cynicism toward this core fact of commercial persuasion — and the absurd lengths that corporations will go to in the effort to infuse their goods with, say, rebelliousness or youthful cool — is precisely the thing that is supposed to define the modern consumer. We all know that corporate branding is fundamentally a hustle. And guys like A-Ron are supposed to know that better than anybody.”

“Which is why the supposed counterculture nature of his brand might arouse some suspicion. Manufactured commodities are an artistic medium? Branding is a form of personal expression? Indie businesses are a means of dropping out? Turning your lifestyle into a business is rebellious?”

Read full story (permanent link)

28 July 2006

Espressamente, Illy’s cult coffee bar [Business Week]

Espressamente bar
Italian coffee maker Illy is out to conquer the “last frontier”—the coffee bar. By rolling out a global chain of licensed cafes called “Espressamente,” Illy intends not only to sell more of its high-quality coffee, but to purvey the original Italian cult of espresso. That means ensuring everything from the barista’s skills and manner to the Italian furniture and interior architecture of the café. It also means coffee as Italians love it: one short, dark shot that coats the tongue with subtle hints of chocolate, almonds, jasmin, and fresh peaches.

- Read full story
View slideshow
Read Illy press release

25 July 2006

Brand experience in user experience design [UX Matters]

Bang & Olufsen web site
This article by Steve Baty attempts to identify the appropriate role for brand values as one project objective within the broader framework of user-centered design.

If two organizations that provide similar services or products to similar markets both applied a typical user-centered design process, one might logically conclude that they would develop similar Web sites. User research during the early stages of both projects would uncover similar goals and objectives for the target audience—which is the same for both Web sites—and, in turn, would lead to similar results.

Frameworks such as Jesse James Garrett’s “Elements of User Experience” provide a rich structure for practitioners approaching a user experience project, but do little to identify or promote the role of brand during either the definition or design phases of a project. Similarly, process diagrams such as “Designing the User Experience” from the UPA—the “snakes and ladders” poster—focus on the importance of deliverables such as user profiles, task analyses, and usage scenarios portraying user interfaces in ways that do not jeopardize brand perception. Instead, we should consider how the visual design, the interaction design, the information architecture—in fact, the entire user experience—can positively contribute to brand image. By creating a user experience that is appropriate to our audience, business goals, and the competitive landscape, we can positively reinforce our customers’ brand experience.

Read full article

14 July 2006

Report: The next step in brain evolution [Sunday Times]

Teens online
Technology is dividing us into digital natives and digital immigrants, says Richard Woods in a long story in the Sunday Times that ponders the impact of rapid digital change on the way we think.

“Emily Feld is a native of a new planet. While the 20-year-old university student may appear to live in London, she actually spends much of her time in another galaxy — out there, in the digital universe of websites, e-mails, text messages and mobile phone calls. The behaviour of Feld and her generation, say experts, is being shaped by digital technology as never before, taking her boldly where no generation has gone before. It may even be the next step in evolution, transforming brains and the way we think.”

“That’s what makes Emily a ‘digital native’, one who has never known a world without instant communication. Her mother, Christine, on the other hand, is a ‘digital immigrant’, still coming to terms with a culture ruled by the ring of a mobile and the zip of e-mails. Though 55-year-old Christine happily shops online and e-mails friends, at heart she’s still in the old world. ‘Children today are multitasking left, right and centre — downloading tracks, uploading photos, sending e-mails. It’s nonstop,’ she says with bemusement. ‘They find sitting down and reading, even watching TV, too slow and boring. I can’t imagine many kids indulging in one particular hobby, such as birdwatching, like they used to.'”

The article goes on to quote Lord Saatchi, Marc Prensky, an American consultant and author, Steven Johnson, author, Dr. Anders Sandberg, who is researching “cognitive enhancement” at Oxford University, Helen Petrie, a professor of human-computer interaction at the University of York, Pam Briggs, professor of applied cognitive psychology at Northumbria University, Nathan Midgley of the TheFishCanSing research consultancy, Andy Clark, a former director of cognitive science at Indiana University and Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University

Read full story