Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, tells the story about making stories stick. One of the subject they discuss is the curse of knowlegde.

Elizabeth Newton, a psychologist, conducted an experiment on the curse of knowledge while working on her doctorate at Stanford in 1990. She gave one set of people, called “tappers,” a list of commonly known songs from which to choose. Their task was to rap their knuckles on a tabletop to the rhythm of the chosen tune as they thought about it in their heads. A second set of people, called “listeners,” were asked to name the songs.

Before the experiment began, the tappers were asked how often they believed that the listeners would name the songs correctly. On average, tappers expected listeners to get it right about half the time. In the end, however, listeners guessed only 3 of 120 songs tapped out, or 2.5 percent.

The tappers were astounded. The song was so clear in their minds; how could the listeners not “hear” it in their taps?

That’s a common reaction when experts set out to share their ideas in the business world. It’s why engineers design products ultimately useful only to other engineers. It’s why managers have trouble convincing the rank and file to adopt new processes. And it’s why the advertising world struggles to convey commercial messages to consumers.

I have a DVD remote control with 52 buttons on it, and every one of them is there because some engineer along the line knew how to use that button and believed I would want to use it, too. “People who design products are experts cursed by their knowledge, and they can’t imagine what it’s like to be as ignorant as the rest of us.”


Wierdest news item I have seen in while in a dutch newspaper called “de pers”. They removed lots of vowels to make to title fit in the space instead of using a smaller fonttype. Intresting experiment because most people still can read the title perfectly fine.

Barack Obama zoekt vicepresident (Barack Obama searches vicepresident)

Yesterday I saw the first football match of the Netherland against Italie in the european championships. And it was great! It’s always nice to see a good match but with some friends and beer its a total different experience. To surf with the football hype Wieden+Kennedy recently made this viral video for Fifa street 3, and its super cool!

BMW recently put out an video about a new design concept. The GINA is a roadster concept on which the usual body sheet metal found on production vehicles such as bonnet, side panels and doors have been all replaced with a special, flexible, highly durable and extremely expansion-resistant fabric material that stretches across a metal wire structure.

Why should designers and for that matter, car manufactures, restrict themselves in the use of common materials for the outer body? Why not use a flexible textile cover that could not only open an all-new world in car designing but also save money and consume less resources and energy than previous solutions. Context over Dogma!

The iPhone puts context over consistency. They didn’t put the music store icon where consistency tells you to put it. That would be on the left side. They put it where context tells you to put it. On the right side right above the iPod icon. Even the icon’s arrow points right down to the iPod. Consistency is the easy choice. Context is the thinking choice.

Great Design


After reading The design of everyday things by Donald Norman about a year ago it openend my eyes to some badly designed products. But on the other end where some great designs. Mostly products that were context based or using some other form of feedback as usual.

Take a look at these examples:

Geat package design using the form of the package to tell you what’s inside, so simple but yet so powerful. Banana juice – Designed by product designer Naoto Fukasawa.

Great use of direct feedback with color

Making meaning is a book about connecting to people by placing meaning at the center of company’s culture and inovation. Meaning can be created by making use of experiences. The book discusses 15 meaningfull experiences:

1. Accomplishment
When you are shopping at Ikea and you are buying a chair or table the experience doesn’t stop when you leave the big yellow and blue warehouse. Once you’ll get home you will need to put to the thing together, hoping it doesn’t misses any screws. In the proces of building the thing you can get a sense of satisfaction that can result from your productivity. This is the first meaningfull experience.

2. Beauty
Dove recently created a different vibe in the beaty industry. They no longer use thin and perfect models but instead use models with a more everyday-like figure. Beaty is in the eye of the beholder and dove perfectly connected this fact to their camaign for real beaty

3. Creation
Lego created an online tool, mindstorms, wich let you design your own creation and after that it will ship the lego bricks needed for your design to your home. You can also see other people’s creations and other people can see yours. The sens of producing something new and original is the experience you get from it.

4. Community
Apple has one of the largest communities created around a brand, thousands of people connect with eachother through their common favorite brand. They chat about the latest stevenote or upcoming products. Apple created a sense of unity.

5. Duty
The willing application of oneself to a responsibility or a responsibilty to oneself or family. The militairy in any country counts on the power of this meaning. “Ask not what your country can do for you, what can you do for your country”.

6. Enlightment
When you can create understanding you are building a relation with a costumer. You can do this by learning them something like lynda, an online video tutorial site, does or by helping your costumers with troubleshooting like the geniusbar Apple has in there retail store’s.

7. Freedom
The sense of living without unwanted constraints. Most car manufactures tap into this experience. They drive there new car on deserted roads in the mountains or deserts. You can only get there by car and the car relieves you from the constraint of going to these deserted places. You have the freedom to discover the world.

8. Harmony
The balance and pleasing relationship of parts to a whole, wheter in nature, society, or an individual.The iPod is a big succes because of multiple factors, one of them is harmony. The seamless intergrating with iTunes and the iTunes music store created a unique experience, harmony.

9. Justice
The sens of fairness and equality and unbiased treatment. Social security is a service everyone in society is obliged to have. Everyone needs to pay the same ammount of money for it wheter you are a old and sick man or a healty 20 year old dude.

10. Oneness
A sense of unity with everything around you. When you are watching of big game in a stadium you are becoming one with everyone around you. In a soccer match the audience becomes the twelfth man. The game creates a sense of oneness for all the supporters.

11. Redemption
Any sensation that delivers us from a less desirable condition to a more pleasing one can be redemptive. When you get an upgrade on your flight seat. When your product arrives in one week instead of two weeks.

12. Security
The freedom from worry about loss. Volvo is one of the most safest cars in the world and they promote it that way. Volvo drivers care about security. They trust the car to protect them and their family in a crash.

13. Thruth
A commitment to honesty and integrity. When a costumer buys “green” electricity you trust the energy companys on their word that the energy they are selling comes from solar, wind or water power. Thruth is a key component in creating a personal relationship with your costumer.

14. Validation
Self recognition of oneself als a valued individual worthy of respect. Flying first class in any airliner is a great example of creating a status indentification. It makes you feel good and worthy of respect.

15. Wonder
Awe in the presence of a creation beyond one’s understanding. A car that parks itself? Watching television on a mobile phone? Landing on Mars? Technology routinely evokes awe as they enable new things what seemed impossible the year before.

All these experience work great in the United States but will they work the same in Europa? I think most of them will except for Duty. The level of patriosm is much higher in the USA. This causes a very different approach for company’s when they are branding their product. You just don’t see the same kind of patriosm in Europa nowadays.

You can also add some experiences for the European market:

16 Healthyness
People becoming more aware of their own health. They eat more healthy and qaulity food and they take better care of their body’s. Fitness and Yoga are big trends. The Nintendo Wii Fit also taps into this experience by creating the first “healthy game” where the exercises make the game.

17 Sustainabilty
Since Al Gore and his film an inconvienth thruth there was big shift in focus from lots of company’s. Suddenly they started to care about the environment. Maybe the managment in these big company’s found a new respect for mother earth or their costumors demanded a new enviroment friendly production proces. Either way the earth benifits and that’s a good thing and it’s even better when environment friendly becomes profitable because the experience of an environment friendly company is better then one that isnt’t.

Great combination of music and visual art:

Brand sense is a book about integrating all five senses – touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. the book starts of by telling witch company’s are already using more then the common two senses, sight and sound.

The car industry for example already puts allot of money in research for the way there car sound and smells. Kellogg’s designed the crunching sound of there cereals in there lab and patented it. Singapore Airlines ensures that a special aroma in their cabins is a consistent as the color scheme witch matches the uniforms worn by the hostesses.

Brand communication has reached a new frontier. In order to successfully conquer future horizons, brands will have to find ways to break the 2-D impasse en start using these neglected senses. We should start using al 5 senses in order to create a foundation for future brand strategies. Building brand requires building perception

But to know how to use these 4 senses in your own brand you have to “smash your brand” first.
Strip your logo of your brand and see what is left, can you still identify it as your brand without the logo? now strip the colors. What is left of it? Do the same for the other senses and rebuild it after that.

Smash your color
Colors create clear associations, and its these associations that will benefit your brand. Look at the following colors and think about the brand who use these colors. They almost own the colors with their brands.

Red – Coca Cola & Vodafone
Orange – Orange & Easyjet
Blue – Pepsi
Pink – T-mobile
Yellow – Taxi’s – Yellow Pages
Yellow & Red – McDonalds – DHL – Kodak

Smash your shape
What if people only see the shape of your product, or a part of it, can they still identify it? Particular shapes have become synonymous with certain brands. Smash the following product into little pieces but you would still know from wich brand it was.

Barbie doll
Absolut Vodka bottle
iPod Earphone
Coke Bottle

Smash your name
McDonalds uses Mac or Mc in their naming strategie: Big Macs, McNuggets, Mcmuffins, McSundays. So does Apple: iBook, iMac, iPod, iPhone. Their naming philosophy is an essential part of their brand. Subbrands become intuitively recognizable and tap into the broad set of values already well established by the parent brand.

Smash your language
“Welcome to our kingdom of dreams – the place where creativity and fantasy go hand in hand spreading smiles and magic at every generation”

Everyone will know that this is the language of Disney. The key to forming a smashable language is to intergrate is into every single piece of communication that your company is responsible for including all internal communications

Smash your sound
Brands can be build using sounds. Integrate your sound in every aspect of your brand. Store, Website, Ringtone’s, Waiting tunes. When one hears the sounds of a Nokia ringtone most of us can instantly recognize this as a ringtone from Nokia. The tune from the intel inside commercials is also one of the most recognizable tunes in the world.

Smash your navigation
Conssistency is the only way to cut through the clutter of the noise. Use the same navigition in all your products, stores, manuals etc.

Beside the use of senses there is also much to be learned from religions. Every religion fosters a binding sense of community. Brands should create the social glue that binds common goals and values. Some brands are already doing this: Harley Davidson and apple both have a large base of followers.

Another thing that can learned from religions is the mystery the have around them. Unknown factors in a brand can be just as inspiring as the know. The more mystique a brand can cultivate the stronger the foundation it has for becoming a sought after and admired product. The gaming industry often uses this mystery by giving sneak peaks into there to be released games. Apple use this strategy in keeping there product launches a secret until the the day the product gets released in a big keynote presentation.

All in all a great book about using more senses for branding your product with some good examples. One thing that did bored me were all the dull statistics he had given throughout the book. They didn’t really add value plus you forgot them the moment you read them. His visuals were of bad quality too and didn’t added that much value. Most of the diagrams which where based on his statistics or working methods could be so much more vivid and much more simpler, take a look at this random diagram.

You have to look a very long time to understand this diagram. Bad Design.

Relation to Experience Branding
Experience branding is all about bringing emotions into branding. Your emotions are controlled by all of your senses so it makes perfect sense to incorporate more of the senses into the branding proces. I also think that subconsciously influencing the senses is part of experience branding. How can you make people feel more comfortable through sound or smell?

Just as scents can subconsciously influence you, sounds can do the same. They effect your mood as no other sense can.

In a study published in the journal of Consumer Research, R. Millman demonstrated that de pace of music playing in the background affected service, spending and traffic flow in stores and restaurants. The slower the music the more people spend, the faster the tempo, the less they spend. Related studies showed longer dining times in restaurant with slow music.

In another experiment where local residents noticed a high rise in street crime they used sound to tackle the problem. So instead of more-police, greater security the played classical music on the street corners. In less than one week the town reported a dramatic decrease in crime.

In casino’s they increased the sound of a slot machines whirs and jingles to increase spending. It’s the sound of coins popping in and flowing out of the machine that created the ambience of a casino. The sound creates excitment and calls attention to the area. It lets people know other poeple are winnning.
In my own experience the sound in the casino’s is one of my strongest memories of Las Vegas.