While brands are doing backflips to garner customer loyalty, could it be that the consuming public has reached a point where the collective noise of brand-song has become so deafening that it ceases to register? Or that many of the products in our lives are so commoditized that the customer/product relationship is all but irrelevant?
Are we moving toward a post-brand world?
What would this mean for companies? For starters, a focus on treatment of customers–service, support, retail experience–becomes paramount if a brand wants to create actual relationships with its customers. The brand is no longer just the product–it is the experience of interacting with the company that makes the product.
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Tagged advertising, brand, branding, commerce, consumer, consumer insights, customer support, experience design, marketing, retail, service, user experience
A quasi-random sampling of interesting tidbits…
Seth Godin’s inspiring piece on blowing up constraints – Getting Unstuck: Solving the Perfect Problem [via Seth’s Blog]
The way to solve the perfect problem is to make it imperfect. Don’t just bend one of the constraints, eliminate it. Shut down the factory. Walk away from the job. Change your product completely. Ignore the board.
San Francisco architects blow up a constraint by mathematically rethinking the bay window – Random Acts of Architecture [via Metropolis]
The San Francisco planning code encourages Victorian bay windows, but when you look at it closely, there’s nothing that actually states that you have to create a bay window…It just describes this little chamfered envelope. In the zeitgeist that architects live in, where we’re always constrained by planning codes, we found ourselves emboldened by the realization that it could be crazy! So we deliberately misread it as a mathematical description, which allowed for infinite possibilities.
The ever-increasing hegemony of the smartphone – Bank of America & Visa test smartphone as credit card system [via Fast Company]
Amazing cylindrical dioramas from artist Anastassia Elias – See the world inside a toilet paper roll [via Likecool]
Continuum shares their creative process – Open for Branding: Design Museum Boston project [via Core77]
Shyness kills? – Research study links shyness to heart problems [via BBC News]
And finally, my favorite of the week – All Ducks are Wearing Dog Masks! – Be forewarned: you’ll never look at a duck the same way after you look at this. Ducks’ Bills: You Never Even Noticed [via i am bored]
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Tagged Anastassia Elias, architecture, art, Bank of America, BBC News, branding, building codes, constraints, Continuum, Core77, creativity, design, ducks, health, heart disease, i am bored, innovation, Likecool, Metropolis, problem-solving, projects, Seth Godin, shyness, smartphones, technology, Visa
Psychologist Paul Bloom considers the importance of perception and imagination to our experience of pleasure in his forthcoming book, How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like.
What matters most is not the world as it [actually physiologically impacts] our senses. Rather, the enjoyment we get from something derives from what we think that thing is.
Our main leisure activity is, by a long shot, participating in experiences that we know are not real. When we are free to do whatever we want, we retreat to the imagination—to worlds created by others, as with books, movies, video games, and television (over four hours a day for the average American), or to worlds we ourselves create, as when daydreaming and fantasizing.
This bias towards experiences of the mind over sensory perception points to branding as a crucial component of consumer experience. Branding shapes the narrative behind product and service offerings. If Bloom is right about what drives us, that’s as important an aspect of the experience as the thing itself. A successful offering provides an experience on the functional and sensory levels that supports and is enhanced by the brand narrative. When these elements are incongruent, it creates a broken experience, a sort of brand dissonance.
In a recent interview, Bloom also tackled the question of whether animals have imagination. He says that although their play might seem related to imagination, they lack the ability to construct alternate futures – something crucial to our ability to innovate solutions.
Which means that my dog, although she seems highly imaginative to me when she’s trying to do something sneaky, is not likely to dream up the next iPod.
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Tagged animal psychology, branding, brands, consumer experience, experience design, imagination, innovation, Paul Bloom, perception, pleasure, psychology