Let´s get emotional, baby!
The functional performance of products and services is taken for granted these days, and companies that fail to deliver can expect frustration and rejection from their users. An emotional product- and service design helps companies exceed these functional expectations and turn passive users into loyal fans – which ultimately will lead to increased customer loyalty, brand awareness and customer lifetime value.
Emotions – positive and negative – play a key role in shaping our behaviour, both in the analogue and the digital world. Significant moments in our lives are often remembered based on the emotions we experienced during those times.
That is why companies triggering positive emotions are often highly successful in terms of top line revenues as well as in terms of profitability. Just think of brands like Disney or Porsche where emotions play an integral part of their identity.
The prerequisite to designing an emotional product or service is that basic functionalities and processes work seamlessly and coherently (compare: KANO model). So the first step on the way to emotional products and services is getting the basics right.
Understand customer needs and expectations and design the respective journeys along their functional needs. When aiming to create emotional experiences it is necessary to go beyond the functional aspects of the products or services by addressing people’s emotional needs as well. Once a product satisfies both, functional and emotional needs, it leads to positive experiences and a sense of inner satisfaction and security.
How to proceed
So, what to consider when designing a product or service experience emotionally? We recommend following these three guiding principles during the design phase:
- Start with empathy: Emotional design is about connecting with users, so it’s important to have a deep understanding of who they are and what emotions they may feel when using the product or service. Qualitative research methods, such as contextual in-depth interviews or observations are always a good starting point to identify users needs and emotions.
- Build a holistic and coherent brand experience – there is a strong link between brand performance and customers expectations. So clearly define what your brand stands for and how customers shall perceive it. Subsequently, design all touchpoints such as branding, product design, packaging, service interactions etc. in a coherent and consistent way. Ultimately, try to create positive and individual experiences. The goal is that customers connect your brand with a positive emotional experience. By nature, these connections are individual and could be grounded on relationships, hobbies, holidays, transactional experiences or gifts.
- Stack it up – emotional design is not a one-time thing, it is an ongoing process. The more experiences a customer has with a brand, the closer the relationship to the brand becomes. Therefore, take into account the entire customer lifecycle and try to design as many positive brand interactions as possible. Make use of storytelling techniques to establish an emotional connection with your users over time.
Together with our technology partner Tawny, an award-winning AI based emotional analytics platform using facial coding, we can apply emotional tracking at various stages of the design / innovation processes. In a structured way, our methods can be used e.g., on the visceral level by measuring the emotional reactions after a person is being exposed to the new product or service for the first time.
Furthermore, it can be used on a behavioral level, when it comes to measuring emotions during usage. How joyful is it to use the new service? Where are points or frustrations? With Tawny, we are able to register and track eye movement with a standard consumer webcam – no need for infrared or additional external hardware or a trip to a market research lab.
Tawny is being used on an implicit level, referring to the users’ subconscious, spontaneously triggered reactions and associations when being exposed to a product. This is the highest level of emotional response and refers to the long-term emotional impact – it is what “sticks” and ultimately determines the stance towards the product.
Combining research on all levels ensures the desired outcome and can significantly boost market success of any new or updated products or services. Reach out, if you want to learn more.
Emotional design has the power to turn passive users into loyal fans, by satisfying both functional and emotional needs. Companies that understand the emotional aspect of their products and the needs of their users can create memorable and impactful experiences. This makes not only the customer happier and more attached but drives brand equity, customer value and ultimately sales.
Contact us here for more information.