brand experience

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In marketing there are 3 schools of thought.

There are those who believe the easier you make products to use – the more intuitive they are – the more pervasive they will be.  Out-of-box experience, plug-and-play are terms used by this school. My strategy for Zude operated here: “The fastest, easiest way to build and manage a website.”

Then there is the school that knows people will need to be trained in order to get proper functionality out of products. Long instruction guides, tutorials, and actual training personal are part of this equation. When the level of complication is too great, training comes into play. Know how to tune a carburetor? Have you figured out Excel on your own? Do your teachers know how to manipulate the interactive white board?  Training is a growing category in the commerce world.

Lastly, there is the group that thrives on complexity and for which outsourcing is the model. Medicine is one. Taxes another. Law and reading a financial prospectus also come to mind. When it comes to things like taxes, complication is a cottage industry. Complication is a self-fulfilling industry.

Microsoft plays across all three of these areas.  It creates products a lay person can use.  It also builds into those products with levels of complexity that require mad training. But the over-engineered portion of those products, the 85 features no one uses in Microsoft Word, feed the needs of techies who love training and being trained.  Lastly, Microsoft has an ecosystem that is so complicated it requires outsourcing (Can you say IT department? Can you say systems integrators? Can you say cloud?)   I wonder if this across-the-board approach, which clearly has been lucrative, is what makes Microsoft such a huge, yet often vilified brand.

Anyway, the approach your company takes is a very important, upfront decision and impacts the brand experience. Pick one. Peace!

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