10 – reflections on research

In this section, you will start to develop a toolbox of research techniques to help you think about building human-centred brands. We’ve now explored a number of ways to conduct both internal and external research for branding. We’ve discovered that research techniques in which stakeholders are isolated from their context are less suitable for this purpose. Contextual inquiry, context mapping and various forms of design research and design ethnography are more suitable. It’s a good habit to develop your own toolbox of exercises for this purpose. Let’s start now!

see page 103 of BDI.

step 1
First, think of the objective: what do you want to know? (for example: what hidden values lie behind our current brand touch points?)

step 2
Think of how you might get to know this (for example, give people the role of guide, and let them give the team a guided tour around the building, explaining why things are the way they are).

step 3
Think of what might go wrong (for instance, people might be shy to guide a group around).

step 4
Solve those issues (perhaps by forming small teams that guide each other around, recording the tour on video).

step 5
Go through these steps for a number of brand questions and then design your own toolbox!

If you want to share your findings, or see what others have made of it, please upload your results here and join in the discussion!

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  1. Synergie & Co

    Pause for thought
    Reflections on Research

    When combining different methods for human centered research into a toolkit usable for this group, we looked at a completely fictional brand research session for a widely known company. In this case, we have centered it around Starbucks.

    Starbucks is recognized by our team as a brand focused company, working with and on their brand in a way that closely resembles the opinions of the author of this book. However, it is off course for this company of the utmost importance to fully know and understand how users, external stakeholders or employees view the brand and its connection with both the business and the values of Starbucks.
    We used this case as an example to come up with quite a few research questions aimed at different aspects of the Starbucks brand. Some of the most interesting questions were these:

    o What values are most recognized in the Starbucks brand by his employees?
    o What is the main reason to go to the Starbucks (again)?
    o Do people feel that Starbucks is a sustainable brand?
    o What do people feel when they enter a Starbucks store? (Linked to our values)

    These questions need different ways to be handled in order to create an interesting result. This allowed us to find interesting ways to do research for our personal design toolbox.

    For the first question we want for example to know more about the employees of Starbucks. Therefore generative sessions can be a solution. This will create an atmosphere in which the employees can express the experiences and ideas in a constructive way, allowing the researcher to probe at the underlying emotions and look past standard answers.

    The second question looks more at overall experiences and emotions. This could for example ask for a consumer journey approach to highlight the entire process. While the third question needs a more in depth user perspective that could ask for an immersion technique in which a researcher just dives into the live of a regular customer and the forth question could be solved with an test using either simple interviews or use a picture diary aimed at picturing atmosphere improving subjects.
    Off course all kind of stuff can go wrong. An example can be found after using the generative session for the first question shyness or fear of losing jobs or looking stupid in front of colleagues can, even in a generative session, cause people to not show the back of their tongue. Creating icebreakers, create completely mixed teams and adding facilitators could solve this, but changing to for example another research method, e.g. anonymous diaries, could also solve problems.

    The other questions can cause similar problems. An immersion technique could for example feel intimidating and could change people’s actions. Changing to a more observational approach could solve this, but choosing the right people could already help. And the list goes on

    In the end, this gives us an already quite interesting toolbox with, among others in it the methods of contextual inquiry, consumer journeys, photo and normal diary research, 7daysinmylife.com and immersion. But this can, off course, still be improved.

    Synergize & Co

    Oct 11, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  2. Group 13 - Paper Planes

    Internal brand workshop

    Purpose: to let people that work within a company think about how they perceive their own brand. This way a discussion can be started about the brand and it’s a good way to get everyone within the company involved with the brand and about how to apply the brand intentions in their work.
    Organise a workshop with all the staff members of a company. In the workshop everyone has to name different products that they associate most with the brand. A good way to achieve a starting point for the brand discussion will be to name a car brand, an representative interior of the loyal brand customer, and a fitting restaurant. Though these things have nothing to do with the brand itself and the products/services that they make, they give good insight on how staff feels and experience their own companies brand.

    External brand perception survey

    Purpose: to give a company an idea about how their brand is perceived by customers.
    Show customers different sets of similar products (but different brands) and let them choose in a short time which of these products is most fitting to the brand according to them. It is interesting to always put a product in this range which is one of their own company. This way the brand can find out whether the brand is perceived as they want it to be or as they feel it should be.

    Internal brand perception

    Purpose: to give the staff of a company better insight in how the brand is perceived by different stakeholders.
    Arrange an exchange program within the company. Employees will switch to a different apartment then they are used to work in. This way they get insights in how the brand is being experienced by different stakeholders, both internal and external.

    Oct 13, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  3. G3


    Within our team, we started talking about different brands. Saab was the brand that we came up with that did not have the answers to the following questions immediately.

    Therefore we stated by formulating a series of questions that could be addressed by using utilizing a method toolkit.

    1. What are the core brand values of Saab?
    2. Is Saab reaching its target group? And is it the right target group for Saab?
    3. How does the portfolio fulfill the brand promise?
    4. What do customers expect?

    1. In order to answer the first question it is important to know what the customers and stakeholders current attitude and what they expect from Saab. Context mapping is the best method to determine this. By the means of this method it becomes clear what will evoke the user to make different choices. Since the method is well structured, the session can create a well defined statement of what the core brand values are for Saab.

    2. The second question could be answered by clearly defining who is the target group. A good way to do this, is by creating a persona that gives insight in the relevant information of the target user. A persona overview can use a fictitious person with characteristics that the customers that Saab have, or better said, the characteristics of the target group. This way the target group is represented in a clear and recognizable manner.

    A second method that can be used to get insights of the target group through creating consumer journeys. This method is focused on the complete experience that the consumer has with the product or service. The created persona can be used to go through the consumer journey. This methods gives insight in to the way that Saab’s products are used. Thus, it can be concluded if the products and services of Saab fit with their target group. Also, vice-versa; whether the user group fit with the target group that followed from the consumer journey and persona.

    3. First, to find out whether the brand fulfills the brand promise, it is required to know more about the context of the Saab customers. If the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the context are known, it is possible to find out whether the brand can complete the picture and fulfill the promise. The method that gives a picture of the consumer context, is contextual inquiry.

    4. For the brand it is also of utmost importance to find out what it is that the customers expect from Saab. To find out about their expectations, the customers should give their insights in their expectations. By using generative sessions the most detailed insight can be created by letting the customer group communicate their expectations by making collages, drawings or other creative representations of their thoughts.

    Oct 17, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  4. Team EFCOM

    We discussed several examples and we thought of some ideas to tackle the different problems. One example was:

    Objective: What motivates people to study?

    How: Let people sketch/map things that are more abstract in nature such as social motivations as a conceptual landscape (map) as a way of understanding peoples mental models of the issues of education.

    Might go wrong: People might lack the creativity to transform their feelings/thoughts into a map

    Solution: Let them see examples of what has been previously done, icebreaker exercises, etc.

    Our conclusion was that in order to create your own toolbox you have to let that grow naturally through experience and apply it in a number of situations. You can always start from a known method/tool and then adapt it to the specific context.

    Oct 20, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

  5. group 14

    Pause for Thought: Reflections on research

    Brand Case: “Riviera & Bar”: Coffee Machine Brand

    1- In the aim to always be appreciating by users, a Brand as “Riviera and Bar” always have to know how the Technology is moving forward. The brand also have to know how to use it for improve his product and be competitive face to others brand’s competitor. In fact, if the competitors are evolving faster than the brand, consumers will take attention to the most new and sophisticate product, forgetting the other Brand (in this example, “Riviera and Bar”).

    2- A brand always has to be visionary. In this aim we found two essentials points :

    – Made clients faithful
    – Always attract news clients
    Plus, as we know, people don’t have all the same needs and tastes and they have to try and compare different products before to choose one:

    How to know how Consumers deal with the company? And how to made them faithful to the company in the aim to always have clients? The first thing we thought was by letting them trying themselves the different products coming from the company and letting them live their own experience, creating their own point of views, about what product or services they prefer. We were thinking, for example, to propose to clients a meeting, or a show, where they can try for free different coffee and coffee machine. It can also be interesting for the brand to keep contact with the users, asking they if they are happy with their coffee machine, what they would like to improve on it and to convey them the news actualities about the company.
    We are also personal’s convince that it’s essential for a company to always try to attract news clients in his market, following the aim to monopolize all the market (for example in this case, the “Coffee Machine Market”). This second point, can takes place in an event, in a fair, like an exhibition place (for example the French national exhibition called “Salon et Objets”). It can also take example on the “Apple Store Concept” which is a place for consumers to meet each other’s, try news Apple product, and enjoy the place, as taking a break

    3- Keep contact with consumers it’s a way to always know what the faithful’s clients are waiting for in the future, in a new Coffee Machine product. It’s such a way to know what users don’t like, don’t understand and complains about the product and the company. Be close to clients “create a conscious mind” about how to improve in the organization and strategy inside the company. Communicate the values of the Brand is also a way to be close to the users, like friendship. Most of the famous national Brand uses this kind of communication. For example we thought about Google, Apple, Facebook, and Ikea who exhibit their office, their organization or their designers…

    4- Find different way to keep in touch with client, like questionnaire phone call, email, to know the feeling of the consumers about using the product for improve future product.

    Oct 20, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  6. Paradox 20

    In “9; Brand usability” the NS is evaluated on their (hidden) brand values. This assignment is about designing a new research tool. We chose to use the NS to make a new design tool for, because NS turned out to be a brand that could benefit from an evaluation tool.
    NS has hundreds of thousands customers a day and therefore a quick and effective evaluation tool should be made in order to get as much information as possible from various groups of people. The tool we came up with is called “quick-comment-it’s.” These are stacks of ten small pieces of paper with either a happy or a sad smiley on it. The quick-comment-it’s will be distributed at a large number of big and small NS stations for one whole week. In this way a very various public will be reached. The NS customer can write down their negative and positive feedback on the corresponding paper and/or he could also distribute the papers into the train. After that he can dispose its comment-it’s in the designated boxes that are positioned in the station halls. Next to this, NS should advertise with an app at all stations. This app should make it also possible for the customers to easily post their comments about the NS service online.
    This new tool should enable NS to gather a lot of evaluations of a broad public and to use it to improve their service.

    Oct 21, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  7. 6MINUS1

    For this exercise, we are building on our analysis of the McDonalds brand in the exercise on page 83,

    Brand question 1.
    Which are the main elements the McDonald brand communicates to costumers?

    Create teams of 4 to 5 people from the employees and arrange some diners in restaurants. Ask the participants to right all the positives and negatives they identify in the new environment.The employees are supposed to write all their experiences in the printed diaries.(also the electronic diary is a good idea).After this session they are going to follow some Macdonals sessions where they would go as costumers in other Mcdonalds stores than the ones they use to work and behave as costumers. Collect all the diaries and make notes. In addition ask them questions about the most critical elements they believe the company represents. To avoid having a useless criticism between the two companies we illustrate the diary and create guidelines for them to follow during their commenting. An introduction to what brand means and some paradigms of how it is mostly communicated (logo, services, products, stores )

    Brand question 2.
    Which are the main reasons the employees like to work in the McDonalds Company?

    A contextual inquiry would fit for this part. While the employees working you can gather some rich data from their behavior and understand the real reasons the feel comfortable working in the company, the advantages that they are aware of and the ones that do not realize.

    Brand question 3.
    How could the brand identity be enhanced and communicated through the employees to the costumers?

    The goal is to create a connection between the internal stakeholders (mostly employees) and the external stakeholders (mostly costumers).To take into consideration the values which the costumers would like to be enhanced or added in the company’s brand. In addition our aim is to constantly inform the employees about the evolution of the brand and inspire them to communicate it to the costumers.

    Oct 24, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  8. Group 11

    Reflections on research

    To get an overview of the brand and how to improve their brand image, the following questions can be objectives for research:

    1. How do the employees inside of the company recognize or perceive their brand? (What kinds of the brand promises are most recognized by employees?)
    2. How do the customers perceive the brand? (What kinds of brand promises are recognized by the customers?)
    3. How can the company keep their brand promises to make better brand image?

    For the first question, a brand workshop session for the employees inside of the company is appropriate. All participants should use nicknames, dress casually and be provided with some drinks and cookies. This will create a comfortable atmosphere to talk so that the employees are able and feel free to share their experiences, opinions and ideas. For instance, the employees can express their feeling with this special workshop place comparing to their normal work place, so the facilitator can have an idea about their experience and working atmosphere. However, the facilitator should recognize that there could be people who feel too shy to say their own opinion and who care about one’s reputation inside of company, so that they never say negative things. It is the facilitator’s job to try preventing this from happening.

    For the second question, context mapping will be the best option. Recruit no more than 10 people (the number of people is depending on the company’s situation and size) and let them fill out a small booklet dairy, which can show their experience related to the brand and their competitors. The goal is to get insights of their own brand image and their competitors’; the company can perceive the general view and hidden feelings and tacit knowledge from the customers at the same time. Those results can show both the concrete touch points and the abstract brand impressions. We can think about a big questionnaire, but in this case a questionnaire is a quiet reactive method for the consumer; they can only choose one or two answer out of the given options. Thus, using a more proactive method like context mapping can lead to consumer’s hidden knowledge and more emotional issues regarding the brand image.

    For the third question, a generative session inside of the company is necessary. The employees are allowed to use the results of the brand workshop session and the context mapping as a starting point for the discussion. Employees can switch the roles, for instance, from customers or specific stakeholders within a specific situation, in order to have more empathy for them. In this sense, the participants will produce a more applicable idea for making a positive brand image, which is unique and rare but accessible for people.

    Oct 26, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

  9. Group 15

    1. Our objective
    The issue that we want to solve is: Employees that are not motivated.
    The main question becomes: How do you motivate employees?

    2. How would you get to know this?
    First, you would need to find out why your employees are not motivated. You can do so by:
    – Interview the employees
    – Observation (hidden)
    – 7daysinmylife
    – Workshops (e.g. what would be their ideal workplace)
    – Interview the employee’s surroundings
    – Give more money
    – Switch roles (the CEO becomes an employee for a week)

    3. What might go wrong?
    For every method, we tried to find out what could go wrong:
    – Interview the employees > The employees might not tell the truth. This could be because they are scared that they will lose their jobs or the environment that they are in will change for the worse.
    – Observations (hidden) > Ethical dilemmas concerning privacy. This could escalate in the employees getting even less motivated.
    – 7daysinmylife > The employees might not tell the truth (see “Interview the employees” for further explanation)
    – Workshops > Expensive and time consuming. Firstly, you would need to try to engage all the employees, who are generally unmotivated. Secondly, it will take a lot of time to actually do the workshop and prepare it, which will cost money.
    – Interview the employee’s surroundings > See “Interview the employees”
    – Give more money > Through studies it is shown that this does not facilitate a better motivation in the long-term.
    – Switch roles > It is very time consuming and it could disrupt the workflow (internally and externally) of both the CEO and the other employees.

    4. Solve the issues
    We have decided to solve the issue of the workshop in more detail, because we see the most potential in that specific method, especially when solving a main question like: what would be your ideal workplace?

    Firstly, it is quite hard to solve the cost issue. It is hard to avoid costs, but eventually this method will pay off because of the increased work-flow.

    To try to engage people into doing the workshop, we would suggest that it is explained to the employees why it would be good to participate. This could be done through sensitising the people before the workshop.

    To engage people during the workshop, it is important that people from different levels of the company participate. This way, everyone gets more involved with each other.
    However, it is also important that during the workshop all the employees are equal, no matter what level they are inside the company.

    We suggest that the workshops would be done regularly to see what has improved and what still can be improved. Also, the method would become familiar to the employees and it would be normal to participate.

    Oct 30, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  10. Group 23

    What are the potential values hidden behind a brand, which people don’t see them currently yet.
    What to do
    • Gather all relevant people (from both internal and external) together to study the brand from both company’s view and from individual’s view. I will use converse method: let executives think from individual’s view and employees and external users think from company’s view. This provides opportunities to empathy and bridges a better way of communication.
    • Brainstorm possible values that the brand can bring to us. Use brainstorm techniques such as Focus Group, conversation etc. Participants must be mixed.
    • Categorize values, highlight important and potential ones. This step is very important. Categorize values based on different standards, depends on company’s mission, values and brand promises. Also other aspects such as company culture, core technology, external factors like users, dealers, governments etc, are all need to be considered. With different standards the categories could be different. Categorized values can make values very clear and intuitive. It accurate the values in categories, which also gives clear directions that the company should go.
    • Acquire information and feedback from all relevant people. Design strategies based on the categorized values.
    • Experiment the strategy and execute the strategy. I believe the experiment is very important in case of breaking a company down by a failed strategy.
    What might go wrong
    • It is hard to gather people from different aspects, it needs a very well preparation.
    • Non-creative people may have trouble to empathy.
    • Based on what standards I categorize the generated values?
    • The experiment of strategy is very hard to realize. It relates many practical matters.
    Solve the issues
    • Maybe organize smaller size of brainstorm sessions.
    • Give some creative presentations beforehand.
    • Widely study the BDI related books, try to generate some standards from the theories, and also carefully study the company’s brand and related the standard to company.
    • Computer model? A smaller size experiment, such as in one apartment?

    Oct 31, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  11. The TwentyONEs

    (10) Pause for thought: Reflections on Research

    The objective of building a user-centered brand could be, researching the values users are expecting from their products.
    Also it might be interesting to find out what the gap is between the brand equity and the brand image.

    How to know this
    User research (focus groups, interviews, context mapping) can be used to find out what the value is that users are expecting. (for example, what do users expect of the iPhone 5?)
    To find the gap, these things can be used to define the brand image. To find the brand equity, SWOT analysis is an example of a research technique that can be used. Furthermore, stakeholders of the company can be interviewed. (What does Apple provide, and what do users perceive of Apple?)

    The research techniques described take a lot of time to provide useful results. Also, it is difficult to draw good conclusions from these results, causing you to hire external expertise to do this. (People might point out things that turn out to be irrelevant)
    The definition of a brand image or equity is a very complex to define in a way that is feasible for applying it in the practical world. (It is probable people have different views on what the image is of, this makes it very hard to find something universal within these views.)

    An external facilitator can be hired to guide the research team in the process. Also, a more radical move is to not take into account the opinions of the users. (This last move is one that Apple actually applies with their products)
    It may help to define brand equity and brand image when a concise scope is chosen. Making it manageable to apply. (People might be asked about their opinions on the commercials of Apple)

    The TwentyONEs

    Nov 01, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  12. Group 18

    Reflections on research

    In this pause of thought we got a deeper understanding of research techniques to help us think about human-centred brands.
    For this exercise, every groupmember came up with an objective to discuss. We discussed a total of six objectives, from which two are summarized below. To two objectives are:

    1. How to create a shared understanding of the core values of the brand amongst all employees?
    2. How can a company communicate the brand values to the customers?

    We chose these two objectives because the first objective is about the internal brand stakeholders and the second one is about the external brand stakeholders. As stated on page 93 of the BDI-book the research of the internal context en external context can take place at the same time, and enrich each other.

    How do we get to know the answers to the two questions? To answer this question it depends what kind of company you have. For example for the first question the amount of employees makes a big difference. If there are only a few employees you can meet on a regular basis and discuss the vision and values of the brand. Make sure that everybody knows what is happening in the company and where they want to go. If there are more than 25 employees than it already becomes harder to have scheduled meetings. A possible solution for this is to create a place inside the company where employees and employers go to where they can exchange thoughts and experiences. This place has to reflect the brand (best is that the whole building reflects the brand). Sopeople feel what the brand is all about. Think about posters, colours, and texts. At the same time, the company must answer the second question; how to communicate the brand values to the customer? A way to do this is to think about this in the place where everybody meets. People can discuss here which possible touchpoints can be used. The company can create a toolbox with touchpoints, e.g. a store, Facebook, commercials, posters and questionnaires. Also, the company can invite customers to their meeting place to talk with the customers to see if the customers have the right brand image. And if not, what they can do about this.

    What might go wrong with a meeting centre is that people are not very dedicated to the company and will not go there or only go here for relaxation. Another thing that might go wrong is that the place doesn’t reflect the brand right, and employees get a wrong understanding of the brand values. To get people more involved and want to exchange there thoughts and experiences should be stimulated. One way to do this is that the meetings are during working hours. Make it a place where people want to be, even when they are not working. Also, make people more aware that they are a part of the company, not just a number. People should know each other’s names and work together as a team. The building and the people should breath the brand.

    What can go wrong for the solution for the second question is that the wrong touchpoints are created, or touchpoints are overlooked. This can also be a consequence of not having a shared understanding of the brand image within the company. Here you see again that the external context has a big influence on the internal context. To solve the issues that can happen is to think outside of the box. Invite customers and ask them where they come in touch with the company. Context mapping would be a nice way to go in this case.

    Form this pause of thought we can conclude that everyone has his own toolbox, and that there are more ways to solve a problem. We think that it really depends on the company, the context and the objective which research technique is best to use. When you get more experience as a designer you will create your own toolbox, you develop your own preferences for certain methods and techniques. Most of the time we think you will take parts from multiple methods and create your own personal technique. Important with this is that you always have to communicate and discuss with other people what you do. Two people know more than one.

    Nov 01, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  13. Group 02

    I want to know what the actual eating behaviour of singles between 25 and 35.

    1)Contextual inquire: making notes of someone’s eating behaviour while following him/her around
    2)Give them a notebook to log their consumption (Cultural probe)
    3)Online blog about eating behaviour

    1) The participant might change his behaviour because you are there
    2) The participant might lie, out of – for example – shame or forget to write something
    3) The participant might lie, out of – for example – shame or forget to write something

    1) Instead of actually being there, make him wear a camera and only start filming after a few weeks, once he is completely used to the camera
    2) Proper informed consent form, make someone feel comfortable by telling them this is not an assessment of them.
    3) Proper informed consent form, make someone feel comfortable by telling them this is not an assessment of them.

    Nov 03, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  14. Powers of Ten

    For this exercise we looked at Ricoh, which is the brand of the printers at the Technical University of Delft. We wanted to know what emotions people have in using these printers. In another course students had to find it out purely by observations, but we thought there might be better ways to find the answer on this question.
    To solve this question in the best way, we thought of getting people involved, who we will give certain tasks that involve using the printer in different ways, like printing, copying and scanning. We let them reflect on these tasks by giving them a sort of sensitizing booklet, in which they can fill pages in a creative way, and tell about their emotions involved. In order to let them think in different ways, we will use metaphors like describing the printer as it were a person, et cetera. On top of that we want to film people while using the printers, to compare it with the booklet.
    A problem that may occur is that people fill in what we want to hear, and that they are too conscious about the research. Also because the tasks are so forced and they do it very focused, while that’s not the case in real life. Using a printer is always a means to an end. The answers we would get might not be completely honest.
    Therefore we want to cover the research up in a completely different topic, like creativity. The tasks that have to be done, involve using of the printer, but they will think the real research is about creativity instead of the printer and their feelings towards it. In this way we cannot ask the participants directly about their thoughts on the printer, so we will have to find answers between the lines. To make that easier we thought we could make the research about creativity within a framed task, and tell them we use the printer as framework in this task, and that we use other devices with other people.
    We concluded that it is not an easy thing to set up a research like this in the best way. Every choice you make will probably influence the answers you get on the question. However, the real deal happens in the analysis, that is where the true knowledge is generated. It is all about interpretation.

    Nov 03, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  15. 3plus3

    Within our team, three main objectives were emerged as to be very important within a company. They will be discussed one by one with the answer to the main question of each objective, possible drawbacks and solutions on these drawbacks.

    1. Do all employees clearly understand the brand vision?
    A way of getting the answer is to organize a workshop, where employees are allowed to share their honest opinion about the brand and its vision, as they see it. In this workshop the colleagues can discuss with each other and compare their visions to the actual brand vision. (A generative session)
    A possible drawback here might be that people do not dare to share their opinion in front of a supervisor or colleagues. This can be for numerous reasons, such as:
    – Company culture
    – People’s values (culture)
    – Size of the company
    – Level/department of the cooperating employees
    – People tend to adapt their opinion to the opinion of a person with a strong personality or more leadership
    The solution to most of these points lies in having people from the same level of the company (no supervisor) and a good external facilitator.
    In order to let all people give their initial opinion without being hindered by a ‘strong person’, they can be given the opportunity to write things down simultaneously before discussing this with the group. Here, the facilitator again plays an important role.

    2. How do customers think about the brand?
    The answer to this question can be discovered by inviting people and having them participate in groups in generative sessions, where they can make collages. Materials for this are obviously to be made available by the company.
    Another interesting way of learning how people see the brand can also be in generative sessions, where the people are asked to match the known brand with unknown products (concepts). In this way, the company gets a clear view of what kind of products users think it fit the brand.
    In both cases, a problem might be that the invited people do not know the brand at all.
    This can be solved quite easily with good preparation: the contacted people can either be asked whether they know it before they are invited. Or, even better, the company only invites people that are in the customer database (mostly available due to registration of new products).

    3. What is the value of the brand to the customers?
    A possible solution is to invite customers to participate in generative sessions where they make context maps and storyboards. A context map around the person or a storyboard of a day in normal life (or of a more specific day if needed) will provide a clear view of where a specific product or brand pops up.
    The biggest drawback here would be that people know the brand, but that does not appear in their context map or storyboard. This would mean that the product is not important in their life.
    This can be solved by giving people the products beforehand, so they are forced to think about them or ask them how to improve it to fit in (last one is more for new products). This could be seen as a forced touch point.

    Nov 03, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

  16. - shiqi -

    Objective: find out to what extend consumers recognize products from a certain brand. We used an example of a bottle of soda from Lipton. So the question becomes: to what extend does a bottle of ‘Lipton Green’ communicates it’s from Lipton.

    First ideas were: changing the looks of a product and see if consumers still recognize it, or make collages (23 plus one) to see insights of the users. However we decided to do a blind test; remove the logos and names which are on the products of Lipton and other companies, and see if the users can still recognize the products.

    The problems that might occur are that some products are too similar, like water bottles are almost the same shapes with only minor differences. Therefore, we don’t know what the exact part is on which users distinguish the brands. We don’t know the reason why people recognize the product.

    Our solution is to change the elements of the product, such as the shapes/colors/textures, one at a time. After every change, we check again with a user group whether they can recognize the bottle is from Lipton. For example you can change the color of Lipton’s bottle from green to blue and test if the users recognize the brand. When they do, you change the product again and test it (change→test→change… )

    The further your brand can go without losing its recognition, the stronger the brand’s identity is communicated. On top of that you will get extra information when you change the appearance or the textures, the users may not like the product anymore, or on the contrary they think it is better than the original product.

    [img]http://www.branddriveninnovation.com/wp-content/10 – 3.5 pause for thought – lipton.jpg[/img]
    Image: do you still recognize it’s Lipton?

    Nov 04, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  17. [PENTAGON]


    // NIKE //
    We chose Nike to be our brand, and set up 3 objectives to perform our research on.

    1) The objective:
    – The effect on Nike experience of a user in social context (Do my friends like my clothing?)
    – What does Nike contribute to the sport feeling of the user?
    – What do you think about the brand Nike?

    2) Our approach:
    1. User emotional commitment to Nike:
    There are two user groups. One group uses the Nike gear for two weeks, the other group uses gear of a low competitive brand. Both groups are asked to ask their friends about their opinion on their sport outfit. Afterwards the users are asked to fill in a questionnaire on their emotional status after their friends’ reflection by choosing three emotional representation of their feelings → ☺ and ☹.

    2. Nike contribution to user feeling:
    A group of users is asked to keep up a dairy about their sport performance. One week they wear Nike gear, the other week a low competitive brand. The order of wearing is random. They are asked to fill in this dairy before and after doing sports. In this way we can identify whether the clothes have added to their sport performances.

    3. User’s opinion about Nike:
    To find out the opinion about Nike, a focus group is invited. The participants are both Nike users, as well as non-Nike users. During the session the participants are asked to discuss about Nike: What do you think about Nike? This question is answered through several methods: drawing, thinkering, mind-mapping.

    3) Problem
    1. Their emotions might be influenced by other factors and therefore the outcome might not be realistic.
    2. The physical conditions of the user are not optimal, by doing sport the conditions improve so the sport performance increases. In this way it is not clear anymore whether Nike contributes to the user’s sport performance.
    3. There’s a shared opinion among the participants, which results in monotone answers.

    4) Solution to solve the problem
    1. Ask the users to fill in a questionnaire on their emotional status choosing three emotional representation of their feelings → ☺ and ☹ before they ask their friends’ opinion on their outfit.
    2. Select users who are in the same conditional state.
    3. Upfront, let the potential participants fill in a questionnaire about their opinion about Nike. Then select the participants on diversity of opinion.

    5) Toolbox
    1. User test with 2 groups (to get a baseline measurement)
    2. Diary
    3. Focus group

    Nov 04, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

  18. Four

    The exercise in chapter three led to the following conclusion; One important aspect in not only that a brand should express a certain identity, but that the customer gives himself an identity by using or wearing the brand.

    The purpose for this example is to create a toolbox. In order to design a toolbox a real brand is chosen. The brand chosen for the set up of a research is Vespa. The values of Vespa according to the employees are less equations, meetings and stress and more relax, shopping and emotions. But are these values also the reason why customers buy a Vespa, and deeper, identify themselves with the scooter?

    Therefore questions that are important for Vespa in order to innovate are the following:

    1. What are the vision and the values of the employees and the company itself?
    2. What are the hidden values for customers, and the reason they identify themselves with the brand?
    3. How do users see themselves riding a Vespa, and what do they feel they express?

    What are the vision and the values of the employees and the company itself?

    To answer the first question we would like to know how employees perceive the brand hand how they interpret its core values and identity. This can be answered with a generative session; these way employees can express themselves and create visuals on how they experience the brand.

    The downside to this method is that it could very well be that the employees will create visuals that represent the present brand, since they are deeply involved in the company. They might fall back into standard thinking that they are used to everyday at work. Therefore it is keen that assignments are not directly related to their every day jobs and tendencies.

    What are the hidden values for customers, and the reason they identify themselves with the brand?

    ‘Cultural Probe’ can unfold the answer to second question, since we want to know more about the values and motives of (potential) users. It might even be of interest to capture the zeitgeist for a certain group of people. This method is used in order to get insight in how people express themselves in their own lives, mostly through personal belongings and writings. It is important to measure peoples hidden values and ways to express themselves with other products to find a relation with the Vespa.

    This study could result in a lot of variety as regards to findings, not in the least since it will need many volunteers to create a valuable picture. This might make it hard to draw valid conclusions and to identify patterns.

    How do users see themselves riding a Vespa, and what do they feel they express?

    To answer the last question, we would need to find out how users experience the use of the product and how they see themselves. A ‘Consumer Journey’ is probably the best method to achieve this answer, since it focuses on the user’s experience of this specific product.

    However, since this research is about the inner feelings of the user, it might be hard to obtain honest data. For instance when feelings such as pride an status are involved. Therefore this study could be combined with generative sessions, or persona’s to find similarities and explain the underlying meaning of the results from the customer journey.

    Nov 08, 2011 @ 7:08 pm


+ 6 = fifteen

about this blog
this is Erik Roscam Abbing's blog on topics relating to the synergy between branding, innovation and design. Erik is a consultant (www.zilverinnovation.com), teacher (www.io.tudelft.nl), and frequent speaker on the topic of Brand Driven Innovation. He is also the author of the book by the same title, to appear in autumn 2010 at www.avabooks.ch. For inquiries, contact erik at erik at zilverinnovation.com
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