Designing Experiences that Fit the Business

The bottom line: design to the way the business is.

Whenever we think about memorable experiences a business can offer its customers, the end point or aspirational vision is often grand.

It usually follows a pattern that has led us to professional success — we've done it over there, with that other brand, and it worked.

Two thoughts on why that will not work.

Formulaic approach

While in the past it was sufficient to imitate a similar brand and adopt a slightly better formula to stand out, we live at a time when people can hire a surprising roster of brands and experiences to get the job done for them.

A set of tools and companies we would not have considered competitors to that brand in the past.

The law of incremental improvement works when the pain of switching is felt — with customers. It works less and less with potential buyers with the cost of acquisition shooting upward, and the potential of never getting to second purchase or customer status.

In fact, with telecom companies, sign up incentives encouraged switching among otherwise similar experiences and eventually created the backdrop for the success of mobile plans with free long distance and eventually Skype — free global calls.

Forced fit

It may sound good on paper to transfer success from one business to another. Without taking into account the business model and the culture surrounding the current experience, what makes sense in one environment, may break in another.

The changes brought about at JCPenney by Ron Johnson are an example of forced fit — the new experience left shoppers used to hunting for bargains with no jobs to be done.

When we envision making the experience better, we need to remember and take into consideration the aspects of the current experience that work and design to that.

Remove the quirky off a brand with a personality and you're left with a bland.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.