Beyond Use: Back to Thinking.

Product development has traditionally had an “if you build it, they will come” attitude. Usability has often followed suit, producing products and user interfaces that worked beautifully when tested in a lab.  Unfortunately for designers, product developers, engineers, etc., people do not use products in a lab.  No do they use them as we might […]

Linguistic Shortcomings of Social Media Monitoring – notes.

It is difficult to get an accurate reading on how commonly a word is used in a given society. In fact, the task of measuring word frequency fully objectively is inherently impossible. The results will always be affected by the size of the corpus and the choice of the texts entered in it. On a […]

Fascinating Retail

In the last week I’ve been getting deeply interested in the interplay between cultural interpretations of environments and the biological responses to things like signage and all things shiny. I was asked what store displays I hoped would vanish in the coming years and I mentioned the now-redundant, bombastic, loud promotional pieces found in so […]

What You Know May Hurt You

Whether quoted in a college lecture hall or printed on a bumper sticker, some maxims ring truer than others.  While the origin of the well-known adage, “Think Knowledge Is Expensive? Try Ignorance,” is likely rooted in either philosophy or politics, it’s certainly a fitting truism in the world of branding as well. How many times […]

A Better Way of Sampling

As I’m sure many researchers have experienced, there is an obsession with defining research samples in exact, often painfully rigid ways.  We slice, dice and cram people into individual categories and then find ourselves baffled when people don’t do what they’re supposed to do. But people don’t act as individuals.  Or more precisely, people don’t […]

Just What Do Companies Mean By “Hispanic Marketing”?

One extremely difficult but fundamentally important piece of information is coming to an understanding that “Hispanic” is a loaded term and changes meaning frequently. Acculturation is a process in which members of one cultural group adopt the beliefs and behaviors of another group, and although acculturation is usually in the direction of a minority group […]

Symbolism, Color and eBranding

First, up to which level of a semiotic sign – iconic, index, and symbolic sign – should symbolic meaning be dealt with in eBranding?  Second, how are aspects of color and texture as a semiotic signs related to the purposes of 1) increased brand awareness, 2) enhanced brand loyalty, and 3) cause to purchase/commit? I’m […]

It’s Never Too Early to Think About Holidays

The seasonal nature of shopping always presents a multitude of problem for retailers.  The back-to-school season, not to mention the fall and winter holidays, are still months away but for businesses planning what to stock, how to display it and how to get shoppers engaged it’s just around the corner. People are looking for ways […]

Listening + Learning = Innovation

There are some basic principles to anthropological research that should factor into any project or business problem, whether you’re an anthropologist, a marketer or the CFO.  Frequently, they are somewhat difficult to get comfortable with, particularly if an anthropological approach hasn’t been used in the past.  But if the hurdles of getting past the accepted […]