This recently came up in an email convo at work, of how to effectively convince or at least strongly suggest the relevancy of aesthetic experience to business personnel and product managers–who are often furiously focused on marketing demographics and cost efficiency metrics. Who among them has time to worry about the “aesthetics of a product/service”, right? ;-)
Well, from my perspective the aesthetic power of integrating Style + Utility + Performance + Story is highly relevant to business managers in a few ways:
1. An aesthetic POV helps form a complete value prop and marketing message that speaks to users’ emotional needs, beyond silly slogans or incomprehensible feature lists but actually connects to everyday goals and behaviors. It’s simply the “why” that drives a product’s purpose, it’s raison d’etre, the cause that makes a customer want to believe in its value.
2. This approach enables the consistency and clarity of a company (and product) brand, delivering an integrated aesthetic (the “voice”) that a user identifies as distinctive against similar competitors. It’s basically what separates a Dyson from a Hoover, for example. The aesthetic character of the Apple iOS brand versus Google’s Android is starkly apparent as well. Any business manager must be well aware of their own voice, spoken to potential customers to ensure proper targeting and conversions (to purchase).
3. Cultural critic Virginia Postrel in her book “Substance of Style” cites various facts & figures that demonstrate the “rise of aesthetic consciousness” in business, with increased profits/market share/margins, etc. As well as Pine & Gilmore in their classic “The Experience Economy”. And by the way, Apple is as of this writing worth more than Microsoft! Just a hint about the financial power of aesthetics ;-)
At the end of the day business managers can either deliver a congested list of incremental features and cost-efficient widgets (a losing battle of price-cutting wars) OR a total aesthetic experience that customers gladly pay a premium price for and truly deeply madly care about with viral affection–thus, enhancing the company/product market valuation and mindshare. Using the classic Boston Consulting Group matrix, the product offering can either be a “dog” or a “star”. Having an integrated aesthetic experience makes it a superstar! No business manager can afford to ignore the tremendous potential of that.