Concept Naming: Exploratory Methods in the Development of Product Design and Brand DNA

Concept Naming: Exploratory Methods in the Development of Product Design and Brand DNA

John H. Takamura (Arizona State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-617-9.ch012
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Abstract

The primary research method described in the case studies for this chapter offers a unique alternative for integrating product personality in brand development. A new method, a specific derivation of product personality assignment referred to as ‘Concept Naming,’ is offered in combination with other more standard research methods. The Concept Naming method in particular asks respondents to assign personalities to particular areas or features on a product rather than the entire product itself in order to explore consumer/user perceptions, motivations and attitudes towards specific product/brand attributes and the individual meanings and values they place on them. Concept Naming in combination with other qualitative and quantitative data collection methods facilitates the development of a product character vocabulary based on form, color, material, texture, details, and brand. This product character vocabulary when analyzed leads to the development of product and environment design based on Brand DNA (a combination of the tangible and intangible aspects of the product brand).
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Background

Defining the Term ‘Brand’

David Aaker (1996, p. 68), noted marketing strategist, defines brand identity as; “a unique set of brand associations that the brand strategist aspires to create or maintain. These associations represent what the brand stands for and imply a promise to customers from the organization members.” Knapp (2000, p. 7) states that, “In order to be a brand, a product or service must be characterized by a distinctive attribute in the consumer’s mind.” Knapp defines a ‘genuine brand’ as comprised of an internalized sum of impressions, a distinctive position in the mind and the perceived functional and emotional benefits a product or service provides (Knapp, 2000).

A brand is made up of the associations consumers make with it on four levels: perceiving a brand as a product, as an organization, as a personality, and as a symbol (Aaker D., 1996). In the context of this chapter, brand is defined as the sum total of consumer experiences including both the intangible attributes of a brand (voice, mission, promise and proposition) and the tangible attributes (form, color, material and texture) that make up that experience. In essence, brand is seen as a system of beliefs the truth-value of which is obtained through consumer experiences. This definition of brand best addresses the complexities of the consumer mind in that it takes into account all the touch points of a brand both tangible and intangible.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Product Attributes: In this chapter Product Attributes are defined as the physical or formal properties of a product or environment that being their form, color, material, texture, layout, configuration, and details.

Teleosemantics: Teleosemantics is a theory of information content and transfer. The term “teleosemantics” is used to refer to the class of theories of mental content that use a teleological notion of function. Teleosemantics is best understood as a general strategy for underwriting the normative nature of content, rather than any particular theory (Neander, 2004, paragraph 33). Teleosemantic theory recognizes that intentional information from a ‘producer’ can be misinterpreted by the ‘consumer’ during transfer.

Product Personality Assignment: Product Personality Assignment (PPA), originally developed at Philips Design is a research method that defines ‘personality ‘ as the ‘experiential properties of a product’ (Jordan, 1997). In Product Personality Assignment, products are seen as personalities and this research method is based on the notion that there is a link between product personality and user needs and preferences. PPA is concerned with how users perceive products as personalities and the formal attributes of a product as associated by users to be a product’s ‘personality traits’ (Jordan, 2000).

Meme: A meme is ‘a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another’ (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright, 2000).

Brand DNA: Brand DNA can be defined as the words and perceptions of users contained in memory over time (Greenberg, 2003, Marsden, 2000). The brand DNA metaphor describes the interaction of fundamental elements (the combinations of the essential building blocks of a brand) that lead to the evolution of the brand as a living organism.

BRAND: Brand for this chapter is defined as the sum total of consumer experiences including both the tangible and the intangible attributes of a product, environment, service, company or organization. In essence, brand is defined as a system of beliefs the truth-value of which is obtained through consumer experiences. This definition of brand best addresses the complexities of the consumer mind in that it takes into account all the touch points of a brand.

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