We are moving into a “behavior economy” where who you are is less and less about how you look or explicitly represent yourself and more and more about how you behave. Yes, I know that all behavior is self-representation, but posting a photo to flickr is pretty different, I think, from choosing an outfit. So, our cameraphone snaps, blog posts, Amazon reviews, email sigs all make up who we are. Even more so, when a growing number of our relationships are primarily online.
Instead of exchanging business cards or a handshake, we exchange vcards. Or, think about social networking profiles. They’re data-rich but personality-poor (there’s little so anti-social as reducing humans to lists of attributes and preferences), so, again, we have to find ways of inserting our personality into the cracks of the data structures (the tags we use, our AIM status messages and so on). But, despite this so-beautifully human resistance to dehumanization, we increasingly experience each other through the “voice” of our online behavior.
This is paralleled in the world of corporate branding with the (prematurely-declared, but still meaningful) “death of the logo” and the rise of experience as the measure of how customers and brands relate.
And this all works because we increasingly have the tools and ability to produce sophisticated messages. The means to create (and share) video, animation, graphic messages and audio are vastly democratized compared to only a short time ago (though there’s plenty of room to go there).
And we have so many outlets for online behavior. Indeed, the biggest problem I’m feeling is how distributed, how fragmented our online selves are. My friends are scattered across so many “dashboards” it’s hard to find the individual (though maybe that’s a truer picture of the “self” than the false one we grew up with).
So, what is your brand experience?
Driving up 101 today I spied the George P Johnson logo on a building and I can’t stop chuckling. I mean they had to have known what it looks like. And if they didn’t right away, I mean c’mon George P. JOHNSON? Ahahahahaha!
File under there-should-be-a-standard, Steps for finding a human on various phone systems. Some of them are pretty amazing, such as Delta, where you say ‘agent’ four times until it finally gives you an agent. This is firmly in that part of the Venn diagram where business needs fail to intersect with user needs.
“All of our associates are currently servicing other clients.” Um… As much as I enjoy being ‘serviced’ by Citibank associates, I think maybe they ought to reconsider the language they’re using in their phone tree.
This Rugby Logotype Comparison is a great “illustration” of the way Flickr facilitates an ongoing visual conversation.
Also from Manmade, come two great logo history links: LOGO R.I.P. is a wittily-presented collection of dead logos, while this ChevronTexaco gallery shows how two companies with perfectly good logos of their own merged into one big company with one really, really bad logo.
Jesse James on meatspace experience design: Six design lessons from the Apple store .