Person-centric brands and the role of ethnography

Nokia One statement:

At Nokia, we believe that nothing compares to the intimacy of face to face communication but people will always deal with the barriers of time and distance. We aim at making mobile communication as natural as possible, and technology as human as possible. There is no better way of achieving this than by People Centered Design. Its not about consumers, it’s not about users. It’s all about people.

Timo Veikkola, Nokia

References

Veikkola, Timo.  2007.  A view of the future – trends research, ethnography and design.  Weaving Usability and Cultures.  July 16, 2007.  here.

8 thoughts on “Person-centric brands and the role of ethnography”

  1. Grant,

    as I wrote at Rob Kozinets blog. After reading your post I went googling Timo name. I found a very interesting site from nokia, where they share some of the results from their trend research.

    what called more my attention was this: Nokia predicts 25% of entertainment by 2012 will be created and consumed within peer communities (December 03, 2007 – http://www.nokia.com/A4136002?newsid=1172517).

    But, when they say community, I was wondering if they are saying online communities or “real-flesh-and-blood” community. They talk about intimacy, about face to face. But is real face to face, or “real” face to face? Via 3G? Or directly?

    but thinking in 5 years from now (or 10). Are we going to distinguish real-flesh-and-blood communities from virtual communities? Or are they going to be so similar, so hyperreal that they are going to be blended? Which one will be the real community? The real or the “real”? The one that you stay almost the entire day on it? Or the one that you stay just a small fraction of the day? Which one is the flesh-and-blood? You stay more on it, or less?

    In 2012 or 2018 what will be intimacy? what will be face to face? this is something constructed in our time, 2008. As he says: “making mobile communication as natural as possible”.

    this brought me the Wii experience idea. A game community. Games that you should play with others. At your side, or thousand miles away. Community or “community”?

    best

    Renan

  2. Nokia’s view is a nice point of view for a brand to have…one that resonates with me. Though I think Nokia in their communication aren’t leveraging fully on the richness of their core brand thought. I find their advertising, for the most part, quite flat. It’s often only about features, not values. That’s fine when the features are great and when you want to promote a new handset model. But I sense that the brand has gotten lost in technospeak.

    A related thought: In a fast-changing and increasingly unpredictable world where many people are feeling various ‘performance pressures’ in life increasing, I suspect that a brand like Nokia with its people-centric positioning (connecting people) is becoming even more relevant and resonant. Why? Because I think people tend to place higher importance on human relationships in their lives when the world around them seems to be changing unpredictably. Nokia seems well placed for such a change. Tell me if I’m talking complete bollocks here.

  3. At INSERT BRAND, we believe that nothing compares to the intimacy of INSERT HUMAN BEHAVIOR but people will always deal with the barriers of INSERT BARRIERS. We aim at making INSERT BRAND BENEFIT as natural as possible, and INSERT CATEGORY/INDUSTRY as human as possible. There is no better way of achieving this than by People Centered Design. Its not about consumers, it’s not about users. It’s all about people.

  4. Peter, this may sound like a gospel to be recited as proof of one’s respect for the new models in marketing, but the fact of the matter is many corporations/brands/marketers can’t even fake the recitation and, more important, many of those who can are not merely paying lip service. They live this code. Thanks, Grant

  5. grant

    i have cringed at the abruptness of my post since i left it, so i appreciate the note and apologize for the bluntness of it.

    i am an absolute believer in the power of language, recited internally, and endowed with leadership support to enact change and, ideally, improve lives. and i am well aware that these words fall too often on dead ears.

    at the same time, the language is good and true and it might be a useful exercise to try the Mad Lib approach i inadvertently inserted to see what it feels like to talk about themselves in this way, exploring the implications of imagining their efforts in this way.

  6. In Croatia, the joke is “Rakia, connecting people” because Rakia is homemade plum brandy and it is at least 80 proof and does…connect people. ha ha ha.

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