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Using Product Design Strategically to Create Deeper Consumer Connections

Directory : Faculty : Intellectual Contributions

Intellectual Contribution by Minu Kumar

Contribution Title

Using Product Design Strategically to Create Deeper Consumer Connections


Business Horizons


Charles Noble




Historically, product design has most often been considered as a process for creating functional differentiation through added features, superior performance, etc. 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 created desired and powerful outcomes such as loyalty, joy of use, and even passion. Given the 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.

Complete Citation

Noble, Charles H. and Minu Kumar (2008) "Using Product Design to Create Deeper Consumer Connections," Business Horizons, 51 (5), 441-450.


See Faculty: Minu Kumar

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