A common myth in product development includes the assumption that people will use a product the way it was imagined by the designer. Even if a product was designed to fulfill specific and known user needs, customers often don’t use it the way and for the purpose the product was originally intended. In many cases, users don’t care or lack an understanding how a product works, and once they find a way to use it, they’ll likely stick to it. Many people, for example, type URLs into the Google search bar instead of the browser’s address bar. People are creatures of habit and it’s a manager’s responsibility to embrace that habit for a positive and memorable experience.
The intent of the 360° Product Perception Framework (360PPF) is to understand the perception of micro-moments, which could have an impact on a consumer when turning to a product or service to act on a need-to know, go, do, or buy. The 360PPF could be used by brand managers, product managers, or anyone who maintains a stake in the development of a product, service, brand, or user experience. In these moments, consumers are likely to want what they want, when they want it-and they’re likely attracted to brands that deliver on their needs and lived experiences.
The 360PPF should be applied to individual SKUs or granular experiences. The depth and breadth of the information or data applied to the 360PPF could be minimal or extensive based on the access to research, resources, or data. There is not a minimum requirement of information or data; however, researchers suggest using information from valid and reliable sources to contribute to objective decision-making when using the 360PPF.
Additionally, quantitative data, qualitative data, or mixed methods could be used when supplying the 360PPF with valid and reliable information. The 360PPF has been applied to many organizations and their specific challenges for product, service, and experience development. Select use cases for the 360PPF include product development at John Deere, season ticket holder experiences with the Carolina Hurricanes, talent acquisition at Lendlease, student experiences at the University of North Carolina, and fundraising at the University of Chicago.
The 360PPF could be applied to products, services, or an entire brand. The 360PPF assists marketing, product, and brand managers identify how people interact with a product or service. The 360PPF is likely to yield valid and reliable results when applied to a specific model or SKU. A granular approach to consumer and user decision-making could identify behaviors that are specific to smaller segments. Identifying the behaviors of smaller segments could support niche targeting that could enhance consumer loyalty.
The 360PPF consists of four concentric rings (see below). The inner circle of each ring represents a category of the user experience. The rings (from smallest to largest or inside to outside) represent the (1) generic product, (2) expected product, (3) augmented product, and (4) potential to enhance the user’s overall quality of life.
The generic product is the purchased item. An example could be a television. A granular example is a 60” 4K television (SKU 5839394ADJG3). The researchers at Clicksuasion Labs suggest using an SKU or a specific product for the generic product. A person may use a 60” 4K television differently than a 32” LED television.
The expected product is the user’s expectation of the product, which includes, yet is not limited to the purchasing experience, packaging, unboxing, design, functionality, and capability. When purchasing a 60” 4K television, a user is likely to expect the television to work (most common answer; n = 24,639). Additionally, users are likely to expect undamaged packaging, wall mount brackets, HDMI ports, Bluetooth capability, clear picture, high-quality sound, SMART TV functions, a remote control, batteries, and a power cord. Customers are likely to be upset if the television does not include a power cord. The power cord represents the small, yet important elements which consumers expect; however, are likely to be overlooked by product managers because these items may be normalized and left unimproved.
The augmented product includes the products, services, tools, or accessories that could be used with the product and the associated user experience. The augmented product could be designed, manufactured, produced, or retailed by any organization, including, yet not limited to competing brands. A customer who owns and uses a 4K 60” television is likely to use an HDMI cable, steaming apps, and a sound bar with their television; however, these accessories or additional services were not likely designed, manufactured, produced, or retailed by the same organization that designed, manufactured, produced, or retailed the television. The HDMI cable, steaming apps, and sound bar are compatible with the product and likely contribute to the user experience. For example, Samsung sold the most smartphones during 2021 in North America, yet the two most downloaded mapping or GPS applications on Samsung smartphones during 2021 were Waze and Google Maps. Waze and Google Maps were not designed, manufactured, produced, or retailed by Samsung; however, the applications are compatible with Samsung smartphones and likely contribute to the user experience.
The final ring of the 360PPF is the potential product, which identifies how the product could impact the user’s overall quality of life. Quality of life is defined as an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns. Using the example of the 4K 60” television, a user’s quality of life is perceived as improved with the television by the inclusion of television in family time, date night, access to information, access to education, entertainment, and a common value for parents with small children: the television serves as a babysitter.
Applying the 360PPF is likely to reduce guesswork, eliminate myths, and contribute to a positive and memorable experience for customers and users. The deep dive into micro-moments is likely to contribute to the body of knowledge held within marketing, branding, and product teams to understand a user segment’s need-to know, go, do, or buy. To learn more about the 360PPF or apply the framework to your product, service, brand, or user experience, contact Cyndi Fifield at [email protected]. What is your user’s power cord?