LHC is a busy place these days, mainly because we're working on a 123-page RFP for the State of New York, who, if you're reading this, we have never done business with the Islamic Republic even if we don't have paperwork documenting such.
On to the #content:
Brand as user experience
We were riding back from our Thursday night basketball game last week (final line 5 points, 7 rebounds, approximately 25 turnovers) when, annoyingly, the songs on our post-basketball playlist started skipping. Being as how we were hella tired and in a bad mood owing to all our turnovers, this specific malfunction induced a extra special level of rage. It was directed, naturally, at the malfunctioning device—not our on-court ineptitude.
But which device to blame? Was it our iPhone, its accompanying headphones, or Spotify?
The thing is, we expect consumer technology to work all the time, despite the fact that seemingly simple things like listening to a Spotify playlist on an iPhone require hundreds if not thousands of interlocking actions. And more importantly for our purposes, that user experience is not the province of one particular company. Maybe your phone is wet, or Spotify is buggy, or you have shitty cell coverage. But most of us don’t have the technical knowledge to know what the problem is… and who to blame for it.
So anyway, there we were, cursing and sweaty and vowing to go buy a Pixel 3… not because we had any actual evidence that our phone was to blame, but because we like Spotify better than Apple. In professional terms, it has a better brand.
The morale of the story is that as technology becomes more difficult to understand, the value of brand increases. We don’t have the knowledge to understand whether Spotify makes better products than Apple, but we to know who we like—and when things go wrong, we’re more likely to give a pass to those brands we feel good about. Those of us who work in brand marketing have always sort of understood this, but one only needs to look as far as Facebook—losers of $120 billion in a single day based largely on bad branding—to understand how the value of brand increases as technology becomes more connected, and harder to understand.
Things are happening
From McKinsey Quarterly, here’s a nice (and very attractive) overview of the business value of design.