User journey maps are used to visualise the experiences of people when using a product or service, evaluating each individual interaction and identifying improvements that can be made at each moment. The map tells the ‘story’ of an individual’s actions, feelings, perceptions, considerations and behaviours including positive as well as negative moments, covering all such interactions over sometimes long periods of time. Such documentation of a series of events helps shift business focus from an operational (system) point of view to a the broader context of how individuals interact with the business in the real world.
While businesses and especially marketers and advertisers focus on ‘digital disruption’ and play with their new online toys, arguably they are still missing the biggest behavioural disruption of our age – the ageing of consumers. societies and spending power. Having just turned 50 myself, I continue to be amazed at the narrow focus of most marketing activities on those much younger than me. Perhaps it’s just that middle age advertising executives like to pretend that they are still teens?
Collages are great inspiration in design and research, giving participants the opportunity to express their feelings, desires and thoughts in a visual (and therefore less conscious and more intuitive) way than traditional research approaches. Using imagery allows people to “project” on to a visual artefact giving insight into hidden motivations and emotional responses. Read more »
A recent paper by a team from Princeton University and the Free University of Berlin has shown that taste related words engage the emotional brain more strongly than equivalent literal words. They showed that the brain processes everyday metaphors differently from more literal language, with greater emotional engagement. For example, ‘she smiled at him sweetly” created more activation of the emotion centres of the brain than the expression “she smiled at him kindly”, even though they have equivalent meaning and were understood equally well.
I recently wrote a piece on how Vittel used package design to create a behavioural trigger, and today came across another example. Nescafe have relaunched their classic coffee with a great piece of sensory branding that is also a great behavioural trigger. The newly designed jar has a 3D-printed lid that can also be used as an alarm clock.
Triangulation is the process whereby designers and researchers converge the answers from multiple methods to corroborate evidence from different perspectives. This combination of sources helps ensure the accuracy of findings and mitigates the weaknesses of any individual method or data source. For example, by comparing data across different collection methods or questions, helping to give increased confidence in the findings or challenge the approach(es). As well as potentially providing more robust conclusions, triangulation can also provide a richer depth of information from multiple sources. Read more »
Great brands often create rituals and routines around product usage. Think of the name calling, writing names, grinding beans and steaming coffee to create the ambience of a coffee bar. Guinness has created a whole ritual around the serving of the brand through the correct temperature and timing as well as a four-leaf clover in the white head of the drink. Similary, Stella Artois launched a nine-step pouring ritual for their brand of beer: Read more »
“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how things look. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how things work.” – Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was no fan of branding and marketing and is revered as a design hero. But the reality is that he was a supremely successful brand manager, because he was a great designer. In fact, I believe that branding is all about design, and no area of branding highlights this more than sensory branding.
Sensory branding is a relatively new concept, best known through Martin Lindstrom and his book Brand Sense. Although the discipline is so young, even in the last year concepts of cross-modal design and multi-sensory marketing have gained great traction, as the work of Charles Spence and others has shown. Read more »
Symmetry has always been associated with beauty (although for a twist on this read about Wabi-Sabi aesthetics here). It is found in most natural forms, and is generally favoured in natural selection and specifically in sexual selection (symmetric faces are perceived as more attractive than asymmetric faces). The human body shows the principle of symmetry well, with two eyes, two ears, two arms and two legs, but other animals and plants show this just as well. In nature, symmetry is largely a function of the force of gravity and a kind of ‘regression to the mean’ (averaging of form).
Picture cards are a common tool in qualitative enquiry, helping people to think about and verbalise stories about their life experiences. The cards help to anchor such stories in context and detail, acting as a stimulus for conversation. Visual reference points are much easier to process than verbal questions. Images can be more relevant or more abstract depending on the context and objectives. Read more »