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Using product design strategically to create deeper consumer connections


  • Noble, Charles H.
  • Kumar, Minu


Historically, product design has most often been considered a process for creating functional differentiation through added features, superior performance, and so forth. However, with the advent of more design-oriented companies, such as Apple, Dyson, and others, design is increasingly being seen as an important strategic tool in creating preference and deeper emotional value for the consumer. In this research, we show how different design elements may be used strategically to create two very different outcome chains from a consumer's perspective. This work shows that certain design elements are more likely to create functional product differentiation and transactional consumer outcomes, while other design strategies tap a more emotional form of value creation. As we show, an emotional focus in value creation is more likely to create desired and powerful outcomes such as loyalty, joy of use, and even passion. Given current business trends towards relationship-based customer management, this emphasis on emotional value creation through product design is particularly relevant. In order to make these ideas actionable, we offer specific product design strategies that managers can use to enhance the transactional and relational value of their customer relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Noble, Charles H. & Kumar, Minu, 2008. "Using product design strategically to create deeper consumer connections," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 441-450.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:51:y:2008:i:5:p:441-450

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Veryzer, Robert W, Jr & Hutchinson, J Wesley, 1998. " The Influence of Unity and Prototypicality on Aesthetic Responses to New Product Designs," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 374-394, March.
    2. Cohen, Joel B & Basu, Kunal, 1987. " Alternative Models of Categorization: Toward a Contingent Processing Framework," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 455-472, March.
    3. Holbrook, Morris B & Moore, William L, 1981. " Feature Interactions in Consumer Judgments of Verbal versus Pictorial Presentations," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 103-113, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abhishek Mishra & Satyabhushan Dash & Naresh Malhotra, 2015. "An integrated framework for design perception and brand equity," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 5(1), pages 28-44, June.
    2. repec:spr:amsrev:v:5:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s13162-015-0063-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mishra, Abhishek, 2016. "Attribute-based design perceptions and consumer-brand relationship: Role of user expertise," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 5983-5992.

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