CEO, Kieku Labs Oy
The brands and companies maintaining a genuine contact with the customers are suggested to build stronger customer relationships. In fact, studies among traditional peoples show a very tight coupling between objects and the self. Similar findings have been repeated in modern cities, where people learn, define, and maintain expressed identity through possessions.
A modern relationship with objects extends to the brands behind the objects. Thus, the interaction between (commercial) brand behaviors and consumer behaviors creates a bond, based on a commonly created meaning and reinforcement. The quality of that relationship equals to the amounts of love, self-connection, commitment, intimacy, and brand partnership quality. All these build the strength for tolerance against the mistakes and errors, therefore contributing to the relationship stability. A bit like marriage or friendship, a close bond builds the trust for difficult situations.
All this is particularly critical for digital online services. Without physical representation of the object, which would show the commitment, there is only the meaning and utility value. In the business of the online-products, the utility value is often easy to replace. The theory proposed by Pine and Gilmore, in their book Beyond the Experience Economy, suggests that eventually competition moves to user transformations. Hence, a meaningful brand is like a mentor who helps your identity to evolve.
Therefore, intimacy of the relationship with customers is especially critical when working in the field of immaterial design. It is of utmost importance to make the deep journey into the values and the identity, which the design and digital services should represent. Without this clarity of the identity, the product is likely to be one of those utility services, easy to replace. Just like humans, a design can be something which opens up slowly, where each customer touch-point provides new delightful surprises.
Emphatic focus group interviews and user observations are popular methods for understanding the hidden user needs. In case of digital services the feedback collection is often automated, the most advanced A/B-testing could be seen as a variant of design probe -method. Besides the technical understanding of the needs, engagement with the users tunes the team with users’ expectations. Therefore, the core identity turns into a cultural tool for analyzing the feedback and proposals; to make the distinction between what is critical for the core promise and what should be considered as add on features.
So, with identity based design there is a better chance to re-establish a genuine connection with own community. Research suggests that companies driven by a purpose are more likely to change the world over the course of this century. While the fastest media 100 years ago was broadcast radio, a modern voice community can be even faster and much more versatile in addressing the needs of the global community.
Once upon time there was the community radio, the broadcast shows done by members of the community. Later there were the internet communities, such as discussion groups. At their very core, these communities were coordinated by community administrators. This has changed. The social media services are super useful and inclusive, but on the downside, the user feed is a confusing mix of what I like and what someone would like to sell for me. In fact, there is an emerging global discussion on morality of the machine intelligence, with what values and purpose different artificial intelligence services operate.
The very core of Kieku is the human voice, the original media for transferring thoughts, ideas, stories, and very importantly the emotions the voice conveys. Our goal is to let the mind flow, and provide the community with an opportunity for a rewarding dialogue.
Kieku.com is a personalized audio feed. A community where anyone can talk, and everyone can listen.